The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria, NAHCON, has commenced the process of selecting airlines and cargo service providers ahead the 2018 Hajj exercise.
The commission on Wednesday in Abuja began screening six airlines that submitted bids to convey Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj.
Of the six airlines, four are from Nigeria, while the other two are Saudi based airlines.
Authorities of the Holy land have made it mandatory to allow Saudi-based airlines to be part of those ferrying pilgrims.
Those who applied for cargo services airfreight of pilgrims’ excess luggage were Cargo Zeal Technologies Limited, Med-view International Travels and Cargoes and Dynasty Airline.
Speaking before the commencement of the screening exercise, acting chairman of the commission, Yusuf Adebayo, assured that transparency and adherence to the rule of law will guide the screening.
Mr. Adebayo urged participating airlines to make their concerns known at any time during the screening process.
Chairman of the screening committee, NAHCON’s Commissioner of Operations, Abdullahi Saleh, said the bidding and selection of carriers would be done transparently.
Mr. Saleh heads a 28 member committee with membership drawn from all the relevant government agencies that have to do with airline and airspace management in Nigeria.
“We are assuring you that the committee would do its work diligently as it includes other stakeholders. The large number of the committee is also to ensure its transparency and diligence,” Mr. Saleh said.
The committee was earlier on Tuesday inaugurated by Mr. Adebayo.
He had charged the committee to ensure that the selection of qualified and competent air carriers with viable capacity and wherewithal.
Part of the terms of references of the committee include; screening of prospective air carriers that apply to airlift pilgrims and those for excess luggage in respect of the 2018 Hajj and to determine the suitability and capacity of the applicants (airlines) in line with the extant laws of the Nigerian Civil Aviation and ICAO standard and recommended practices.