Lagos – The last batch of international pilgrims from Nigeria for the 2007 hajj rites in Saudi Arabia arrived Kano yesterday as Med-View Airlines, their official carrier, concluded the exercise.
No fewer than 10,000 pilgrims have been airlifted back to Nigeria by the airline since the return journey for the pilgrims began two weeks ago from the King Abdulaziz airport in Jeddah. The last flight touched down at Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.
With the successful conclusion of the airlift of its passengers, Med-View has again been called upon by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) to carry out rescue operations for Nigerian pilgrims stranded in Saudi Arabia owing to the failure of two other Nigerian carriers earlier contracted to airlift them back home to honour the contractual agreement.
Last week NAHCON fined two of the airlines $100,000 dollars each for their failure to bring the pilgrims home as agreed in their hajj airlift contract with the commission. During the out bound journey to Saudi Arabia, Med-View was also called upon to rescue some intending pilgrims stranded at various airports in Nigeria and had to airlift them to Jeddah to beat the deadline set by the Saudi Arabia authority for all pilgrims to arrive the holy land. Med-View Airline according to its managing director/chief executive officer Alhaji Muneer Bankole is ready to extend its service to the stranded pilgrims and carry out any similar operation as directed and agreed with NAHCON. He thanked the commission for the confidence reposed in his airline by giving it the opportunity to handle the airlift of the international pilgrims and pledged the commitment of Med-View Airlines to international standard operations and service delivery.
Bankole equally thanked the pilgrims, tour operators and others, including some state governments who patronized the airline for the hajj operation. Med-View Airline was given the nod last year by NAHCON to handle the airlift of international passengers from Nigeria to and from Saudi Arabia for the 2007 hajj operations. Inspite of its being new on the scene,the airline was able to provide two wide bodied aircraft, a Boeing B757 and one Lockheed L1011 for the operations, a feat even older airlines also contracted for the exercise could not match.