The bid for 11 airline companies to airlift this year’s intending pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been opened in Abuja.
Opening the bids, the Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria(NAHCON), Muhammad Musa Bello, said the companies would be assessed based on three qualities namely; legal, finance and technical capabilities.
He announced the constitution of a screening committee to be saddled with the task of assessing the contending companies and that it was headed by the Commissioner in charge Operations of NAHCON, Barr. Abdullahi Mukhtar.
Other members of the committee were drawn from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Accident Investigation and Prevention Board, Customs, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, Lagos, Delta, Kaduna, Borno and Nasarawa states and the various state pilgrim welfare boards.
Bello said the stakeholders meeting was important “because it would afford both the authorities and the airlines the opportunity of knowing the expectations from one another.”
He also said it was important, especially for the first time contending companies to avail themselves of the requirements and how things were done.
He said: “This is because when the hajj exercise fails, the various government agencies would be held accountable. It is important to spell these out for the benefit of those applying for the first time.”
The Saudi authorities had allocated 76,000 seats to the country for this year’s pilgrimage and while the eight airlines applying to fly the state’s pilgrims were allocated 66,000, the tour operators had the balance of 10,000.
The airline companies applying to convey the state’s pilgrims include Kabo Air, Meridian Airlines, Max Air, Med-View Airlines, Sky Power Express Airways, Air Jupiter, Saudi Arabian Airways and Egypt Air.
While the ones applying as tour operators include West Link Airlines, Azman Air Services and National Air Services.