By Yusufu Aminu Idegu, Jos
The intending pilgrims from Plateau State cannot travel through the Yakubu Gowon International Airport, Jos to Saudi Arabia, Daily Trust has learnt.
The pilgrims will have to travel through the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport Bauchi.
The Executive Secretary of the Plateau Muslims Pilgrims Welfare Board, Barr. Auwal Abdullahi, disclosed this to Daily Trust in Jos on Saturday.
He said, “The possibility of Plateau pilgrims travelling through the Yakubu Gowon International Airport for the 2022 Hajj operations is not there because the tarmac at the Jos Airport is not big enough to be used by the jumbo jets conveying the pilgrims.
“The airlines approved for Hajj operations are those with planes that carry between 550-600 passengers. The runways at the Jos International Airport is too small for those big planes to fly.
“The Jos Airport itself has been modelled to international standard already, but the tarmac still requires expansion to accommodate bigger aircraft. So there are plans to bring in the ministry of aviation to work on the tarmac.”
Abdullahi said there is an understanding between the Plateau State government and the Ministry of Aviation why the state pilgrims cannot fly through the Jos airport.
“The state governor Simon Lalong is determined to sort it out with the ministry of aviation for the upgrade of the tarmac to enable state’s pilgrims utilise the airport. All things being equal, the 2023 pilgrims are likely to be lifted through the Jos airport,” he added.