Makkah — Nigerian pilgrims will start returning to Nigeria from Saturday, August 17, 2019 after this year's Hajj exercise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Head of Aviation at the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Engineer Mohammed Goni, spoke briefly on the return trip at a pre-'Arafat meeting with stakeholders in Makkah on Thursday night.
Engineer Goni, who said the first flight from Flynas Airline, carrying pilgrims from Lagos state will take off at " 07:00 on the 17th August", added that based on the first flight schedule submitted by Flynas, the first four flights will carry Lagos pilgrims while the fifth will carry Kebbi state pilgrims.
He implored officials from state Pilgrim Welfare boards and agencies to cooperate with the commission and ensure that pilgrims do not carry multiple hand luggage.
"States have to do much in this regard. Officials have to lead by example. If you don't carry multiple hand luggage yourself, you stand better chance of implementing the rule," he said.
He also said time wasted on screening pilgrims with multiple hand luggage might affect the take-off time of a flight, stating that "once a flight is delayed, the others will be delayed as well."
It is expected that the two airlines that airlifted the pilgrims will take their stands at the King to Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, on August 16, 2019 to start the return journey to Nigeria.
The air carriers are MaxAir and Flynas, as the third, Medview, could not make it due to lack of aircraft.
NAHCON's Commissioner, Operations, Alhaji Abdullahi Saleh, who said there was an increase in population of pilgrims by 15 per cent, stated that the commission succeeded in airlifting all pilgrims to Madinah except few people who decided to do otherwise.