Following its inability to meet airlift schedule, the management of Arik Air has apologised to intending Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the 2023 Hajj exercise currently stranded at the Muhammad Murtala International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
JournalNG gathered that the intending pilgrims in their hundreds, who are to be airlifted by Arik Air have been at the Lagos Airport since Tuesday, and have been sleeping at Mosques and other open spaces around the MMIA premises.
This development prompted the pilgrims to storm the airline’s office gate and counters in protest of what they described as inhumane treatment.
Arik Air in a statement issued by its Communications Manager, Adebanji Ola said that the issues are currently being addressed by all parties involved and that it will be resolved in the next 24 hours.
While noting that the airline has already carried 374 passengers out of the 10,000 pilgrims it was allocated, the spokesperson appealed for the understanding of all concerned and apologise for the inconvenience.
The statement read: “The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) selected Arik Air as the carrier to work with the Tour Operators for this year’s hajj exercise.
“The airline was allocated about 10,000 pilgrims spread across Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
“We commenced the airlift of pilgrims in both Abuja and Lagos on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 and we have carried 374 passengers to date.
“The issues involved in the smooth operation of the airlift are currently being addressed by all parties involved; Arik Air, NAHCON and the Tour Operators.
“We hereby assure the pilgrims that as soon as we resolve the issues within the next 24 hours, the airlift will resume simultaneously in Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
“We appeal for the understanding of all concerned and apologise for the inconvenience the slow pace of airlift may have caused the intending pilgrims and all the parties involved”.