Max Air on Saturday commenced 2018 Hajj operation with the transportation of 502 intending pilgrims from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to Medina in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The airline deployed its Boeing 747-600 with registration number 5NDBK with 562 passengers seat capacity for the hajj operations.
The Vice Chairman/CEO of the Airline, Alhaji Bashir Mangal, pledged that Max Air was committed to delivering excellent service to the pilgrims throughout the operation.
Mangal disclosed that a total 26,000 slot from 15 states was allocated to the airline by the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), saying the airline will transport pilgrims from Abuja and Kano.
He said that Airline had been involved in Hajj operations in Nigeria for over 10 years, except for the domestic operation that it recently started.
According to him, Max Air is ever ready to transport any number of pilgrims they want us to carry because we have dedicated three B747 aircraft for our Hajj operations.
"We just brought one to Abuja while the remaining two are parked at our operational base in Kano.
"We are committed to finish this operation in good time because we have the capacity to do so.
"The states Hajj Chairmen and Secretaries have promised to do their best to bring their pilgrims out and by the grace of God, we should finish this phase one within two weeks.
"This operation will not affect our newly launched domestic operation in any way because it is a separate business," he said.
The Public Relations Manager of the Airline, Mr Ibrahim Dahiru, said the Airline had been leading in Hajj operation in the country in the past one decade, promising that the airline would ensure smooth experience for all pilgrims.
Dahiru said that adequate preparation had been made in terms of personnel and logistics, explaining that pilots, engineers, crew and ground staff had been adequately mobilised for the operation.
He said that 16,000 pilgrims were currently ready for Hajj, adding that the operation had commenced with Kogi state pilgrims.
"I want to assure all pilgrims that Max Air is ready and it has the capacity and capability to transport them down to Saudi Arabia and bring them back safely
"The aircraft is 562 seats capacity and we are airlifting about 502 pilgrims today," he said.
Mr Idris Yakubu, Managing Director, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), said that adequate preparations had beeen made to ensure a hitch free operation nationwide.
Yakubu said that NAHCO was ready in terms of equipment and personnel in all the airports where Hajj operations would be taking place, to carry out effective ground operations.
He assured that the company would work in collaboration with the airlines to achieve a successful Hajj operation.
However, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has assured that all Nigerian airports were ready for the 2018 hajj operation nationwide.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, said the authority had created an enabling environment to ensure a smooth hajj operation. (NAN)