The management of Max Air Limited has sacked 50 qualified pilots and engineers, forcing the company's two out of the three aircrafts operating this year’s Hajj exercise to be grounded in Saudi Arabia.
Max Air is the official airline designated to airlift pilgrims from Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
It was also learnt that Max Airline, shuttling a significant number of this year’s intended pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, may not be able to complete the airlift due to some technical problems developed by their aircrafts.
Our correspondent observed that the airline deployed three aircrafts for this year’s Hajj exercise but two of the deployed aircrafts were grounded in Jeddah and Medina.
It was also learnt that officials from several departure zones including Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa States have started grumbling over the delay in airlifting their pilgrims by the airline.
Sources confirmed to our correspondent that one of the aircrafts, a Boeing 747-400, developed technical problems in Medina immediately after landing with over 500 pilgrims from the Sokoto zone while the other aircraft at the Jeddah airport was facing a similar problem.
It was learnt that the airline operates one flight every 24 hours due to the grounding of its two aircrafts in Saudi Arabia.
The airline carried over 30,000 pilgrims from North West states but it abandoned them on Thursday and moved to the Bauchi zone for a rescue mission without considering its passengers.
A reliable source at the company disclosed that the involvement of some Indian expatriate as sole persons controlling the activities of the airline is causing major setback as their involvement has sabotaged this year’s Hajj operations.
The Indian businessman, according to our sources, is believed to be fronting for another company that will soon emerge against Max Air.
It was also learnt that these business interests are now in charge of engineering, finance and administration of Max Air forcing the chairman, Dahiru Mangal, to lose control of most of the activities of the airline.