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GIA Explains The Return Of Second Batch Of Gambian Pilgrims

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By Buba Gagigo

The first batch of Gambian pilgrims left the country on Saturday to attend the annual pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. They are presently in Madina performing their hajj rights.

The Gambia International Airline (GIA) said the return of the second flight of Gambian pilgrims is exclusively the responsibility of Flynas (the flight they hired to carry to the pilgrims to The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia).

According to GIA, the Flynas did not obtain the flight permission to use the Mali’s airspace, thus Mali refused to allow the pilot to use its airspace.

“This is the second flight. It actually departed here on time. They flew up to Mali and Mali did not allow the pilot to use their space because Flynas did not obtain the flight permission. It is exclusively the responsibility of Flynas to obtain overflight permission. Right now we are at the airport. We disembarked them. So few, but not very many decided to go home.

“And the rest decided to go to the hotel. We are working with GTSC, they are helping with about three or four buses. As I am talking, we have now started transporting heading to the hotel. We are staying there until day-time until we are able to get the flight permission either from Mali or any other country. Then we will transport them back to the airport to board the flight and head to Madina. This is the error of the carrier that is Flynas, it is no a Gambian problem. But the first flight has already arrived,” GIA said.

The authorities said they are aware and are fully working on to resolve the problem;

“This is not a Gambian problem. It’s not the  fault of any Gambian or any operator. This is exclusively the problem of Flynas and actually the Gambian authorities have now stepped in to resolved the problem,” they concluded.

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