07 July 2016

Hajj 2016: Mahama orders flights from Tamale Airport

President John Mahama addressing the clergy in Ashanti RegionIn line with the John Mahama government’s commitment to the welfare of Ghanaian Muslims and barring any last minute hitches, pilgrims from the three northern regions who will be embarking on this year’s holy journey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj will be airlifted direct from the upgraded Tamale airport.

By this arrangement, pilgrims will no longer be required to travel to be camped at the Hajj Village in Accra before continuing their journey to the Holy Kingdom.

This novel procedure in the history of Hajj organization in Ghana follows completion of expansion works at the Tamale Airport initiated by the Mahama government.

Speaking at a special IFTAR (breaking of fast) program over the weekend, President Mahama disclosed that prospective pilgrims from the three Northern regions will for the first time be airlifted from the upgraded Tamale Airport.
The Tamale Airport, which is due for commissioning this month, the President explained, will among other things, save pilgrims of the inconveniences usually encounter when travelling to Accra to embark on the holy journey.

Throwing more light on the novel arrangement, Chairman of the National Hajj Board, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdul Rauf Tanko told The aL-hAJJ that, out of the 11 flights scheduled for this year’s Hajj, three will operate from Tamale.
“For the first time we will be airlifting pilgrims from the Tamale airport. We have so far made arrangements for three flights to airlift pilgrims from the Tamale airport…but all will depend on the payment because for the three flights from Tamale airport, the number of pilgrims required is 1350. If by the end of deadline for payment, we are unable to get 1350 people from the North paying then we will reduce the number of flights schedule from the Tamale Airport.”
According to Alhaji Tanko all outstanding issues surrounding the airlifting of pilgrims from the Tamale airport have been cleared. “We had problem with the flight schedules but we have fix it. The airline had wanted to airlift the pilgrims between 2am and 3am but we opted for day time since the president will be there to commission the upgraded Tamale airport and they have agreed.”
Earlier, deputy Communications Director of the National Hajj Board, Alhaji Amin Lamptey told Joy News, “We have the signal that by the grace of Allah, we will be flying direct from Tamale.”

He explained that President John Dramani Mahama made the promise in 2014 at a time when pilgrims have had to travel to Accra and camp for days before being flown to Mecca.

“We have 11 slots this year and the first, second and possibly third flights will fly from Tamale and later we will come down to Accra for the remaining slot,” he disclosed.

The first flight from Tamale is scheduled to leave on 20th August, 2016. The fare, according to him, remains unchanged.

According to him some 200 pilgrims who paid but couldn’t make the Hajj in 2015 will be given priority this year.

Ghana’s quota for the Hajj pilgrimage stands at 5,424 (five thousand four hundred and twenty-four).

Communications Director of the Board, Alhassan Saibu Suhuyini also hinted on his facebook wall, “History about to be made again! Insha Allah Hajj Pilgrims from the 3 Northern Regions will be airlifted from the newly constructed Tamale International Airport (Phase 1) 3 flights with average capacity of 500 passengers will fly from Tamale to Madina in Saudi Arabia. The first flight from Tamale is scheduled on 20th August, 2016.
Pay quickly to be part of this epoch Insha Allah.

Fare has remained unchanged since 2013. Congratulations to Hon Rauf Tanko(Chair hajj board), Ghana Airport and Civil Aviation Boards and management, His eminence Chief Imam and HE Prez Mahama.”

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