Independent Hajj Reporters has urged the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), to abide by its set guidelines in selecting airlines in order to avoid the error of engaging carriers that would abandon pilgrims before and after the 2022 Hajj operations.
The CSO also called on the screening panel put in place by the commission to refer to previous benchmarks, history of performance and failures, current status of such airlines, as well as their ability and capacity to meet targeted airlift schedules.
The Independent Hajj Reporters disclosed this in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Mohammed Ibrahim on Monday.
The group recalled that the commission has set up a committee to screen prospective airliners that have applied to airlift the 2022 Hajj pilgrims from Nigeria.
“The committee should not sacrifice safety and competence for a lower air fare because such move will be counterproductive to Hajj operations,” the CSO said.
“It further tasked the NAHCON screening committee to abide by ARTICLE 6 Under CARRIER’S OBLIGATIONS in its airlift agreements with Hajj carriers.
“Article 6.1 of the agreement states that selected Hajj carriers should have and be able to deploy a wide bodied aircraft with a minimum seating capacity of about 300 passengers and a maximum seating capacity of 540 with a provision of leg-room allowance of about 33cm and above for the entire operation.
“It is also provided that where necessary, similar substitute thereof approved in writing by the Commission and certified by the NCAA and Saudi GACA.
“6.2 further states that such Hajj Carrier shall provide the aircraft referred to in Article 6.1 above, fully equipped, maintained and fuelled, with qualified, licensed and experienced technical crew with appropriate back-up in accordance with ICAO/NCAA Regulations as necessary and sufficient to operate the flights. Carrier shall be responsible for the crew salaries, allowances and other expenses (including lodging and transportation to and from the Airport), positioning and repositioning, meals and allowances for the flight crew, flight attendants and other operational personnel. It is the duty of the Carrier to comply with Saudi laws prohibiting the importation of alcohol by air crew and prohibiting none Muslims from entering the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.
“6.5 highlights the Provision of back-up Aircraft within 12 hours. If the aircraft shall for any reason become incapable of flying on agreed schedule, the Carrier shall provide substitute aircraft of the same or similar capacity within a maximum of Twelve (12) hours PROVIDED that the substituted aircraft shall meet the requirements of the NCAA and GACA, and the provisions of the Agreement relating to the initially provided aircraft shall apply mutatis mutandis to the substituted aircraft. The Carrier shall not on the ground of any technical problems with its aircraft be relieved of its contractual obligations including those arising from delays and cancellation as provided in Article 9 of the agreement.
“The above requirements should constitute the basis of the selecting air carriers.
IHR also implored NAHCON to ensure that “Brief case” airlines are not contracted. The committee should select from among renown airlines that have existing aircrafts and crews ready for deployment at any moment.
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