By Sade Williams
Med-View Airline on Monday, commenced the airlift of pilgrims for the 2016 Hajj operation with 448 pilgrims from Osun state making the inaugural flights.
They were airlifted in a Boeing 747-400 aircraft newly acquired by the Airline.
The inaugural flight was witnessed by officials from the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) led by the Commissioner representing the South-West, Imam Fuad Adeyemi, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), among others.
The first flight took off at the Hajj terminal of Murtala Mohammed International Airport at about 5:20.
Managing Director and Chief Executive of Med-View, Alhaji Muneer Bankole expressed fulfillment with the commencement of the airlift, disclosing that two flights would be operated daily.
He said three aircraft- B747-400, 777-200 and 767-300- are on standby for the operations, adding that the airline would operate 150 flights throughout the period of the exercise.
Bankole said the airline became the first choice of Saudi Arabia authorities for its integrity, consistency and quality services for 10 years since the airline’s foray into Hajj operations.
“We are highly fulfilled. We give thanks to Allah for the life of the company and for life of Nigerians who are fulfilling their five pillars of Islam, the religious obligation.
“As you can see, we are fully on ground. The aircraft are all here. The 777-200 ER, 747-400ER and the 767-300 ER. We are going to run about 50 flights in and on the way 50, and we do another 50 in to go and bring them.
“We give thanks to Allah, everything is on course. From Med-View point of view, we do yearly preparation. When we were rounding up 2015 Hajj, we commenced 2016 leaving the rest to Allah.
“We’ve done over 300,000 flights so far an average of 150 flights per exercise running for years. We feel fulfilled and we thank God. So the Saudi Authorities believe in this company and that is why they gave us the first choice”.
The South-West Commissioner assured that adequate arrangements had been put in place by the Commission.
He said, “We’ve trained our pilgrims that you don’t walk in the crowd, you avoid crowd as much as possible. We have told all our pilgrims that you must follow your officials because they have the right information and with the e-track system, we can talk to all Nigerians from the tracking in their hands. So it makes it easy for us to reach out to them.