The first batch of 130 Ghanaian pilgrims on Saturday afternoon departed the Tamale Airport to the Kotoka International airport in Accra to enplane to Saudi Arabia for the Islamic Holy pilgrimage.

Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku, Northern Regional Coordinating Director, told newsmen in Tamale on Saturday that the process has been without any difficulty even though the information came late.

He said at about 14:00 hours on Saturday, they had information that 130 thirty more pilgrims from the Northern Sector Hajj Village would be needed to fill up the aircraft waiting in Accra.

?A fully loaded plane of pilgrims from the Northern sector would be departing today, Sunday, to Mecca?, he said.

Alhaji Issahaku said the cost of the flight from Tamale to Accra had been footed by the state, stressing that ?this is different from the fully sponsored persons by the government?.

Mr. Julius Akor-Boafo, Northern Regional Airport Manager identified ineffective communication among all the players in the village, which he said, was creating some problems for a smooth trip and appealed to the agents and other institutions involved in the process to use communication effectively to avoid any hitches.

He said the airport had the needed facilities to contain all the pilgrims but stated that the airport had a short runway, which will make it impossible for flights to fly straight from the Tamale Airport except there was an improvement.

Mr. Akor-Boafo said for now, only small and medium aircrafts could use the facility, adding that, if the airport was redesigned, it could serve that purpose.

At the time of filing this report, many pilgrims had gathered at the Hajj Village close to the Tamale Airport awaiting their turn.

Source: GNA

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