Ahead of the 2023 Hajj exercise, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) on Thursday released Hajj flight schedules for the ritual operations.
A memo titled Hajj instruction governing carriage of pilgrims by Air by GACA indicated that Saudi airports will open for the first flight carrying 2023 Hajj pilgrims on Sunday 21st May 2023 and closed for arrivals of Hajj flights on Thursday 22nd, June 2023.
According to the flight schedules, the departure of Hajj flights carrying 2023 hajj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia will commence on Sunday 2nd, July 2023, and will end on Wednesday 2nd of August 2023.
GACA also advised all Hajj participating countries to submit operating requirements before the end of the working day on Monday 29th of Rajab equivalent to 20th February 2023.
Although the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) recently placed a public advert for application and subsequent selection of carriers for the 2023 Hajj, the commission and other participating missions have less than 30 days to conclude necessary aviation protocol and forward their schedules to the Saudi authorities.
The Saudi Arabia Flynas, Azman air, and Max airlines successfully scaled through the rigorous process and were finally shortlisted for 2022 hajj operations.
Over two million pilgrims are expected to perform the 2023 hajj following the cancellation of pre-covid 19 protocols and restoration of total capacity. Nigeria also secured its full allocation of 95,000 against 43,003 pilgrims slots approved in 2022.
Meanwhile, NAHCON has sealed a collaboration with Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to deepen economic ties.
At a bilateral talk between the two parties at the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia headquarters of the Bank, the leader of NAHCON delegation and Chairman of the Commission, Alh. Zikrullah Kunle Hassan stressed the need for support and intervention of the bank in the areas of employment opportunities for Nigerians and participation in the seasonal slaughtering job.
In a statement by Mousa Ubandawaki, assistant director, Information and Publication at NAHCON, the Chairman equally solicited the support of IsDB in the area of capacity-building and facilitating the full take-off of Hajj Institute of Nigeria (HIN ) and supply of medical equipment to NAHCON’s clinics.
The Deputy Coordinator General, IsDB, Dr Umar Adiya, reassured readiness to sustain support to Nigeria. He added that the country has always been part of the Bank’s partner and would be accorded a place of priority.
He further stated the need to explore the sustainable future of the Hadaya project if the bank must serve the purpose of its establishment.