By AKEEB ALARAPE A
Kabo aircraft, conveying Nigerian pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had to make a forced landing in Sudan capital, Khartoum, Wednesday, over its airworthiness. The aircraft, with registration number N9-1143, was conveying pilgrims from Kaduna State but denied landing by the authorities of the King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah due to communication lapses as regards its condition.
It was gathered that the Saudi aviation authorities denied landing permit to the aircraft after it had entered its (Saudi) airspace. The refusal forced the pilot to make a detour to neighbouring Khartoum airport to enable Saudi and Nigerian aviation authorities resolve the issue of the aircraft’s airworthiness. Saturday Sun gathered that a routine maintenance check had been conducted on the aircraft and certified air worthy by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) before it left Nigeria in the early hours of Wednesday.
But the information on the routine check has not gotten to the Saudi aviation authorities as at the time the aircraft entered the Saudi airspace. Head of Media, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Mallam Uba Mana, confirmed the issue but said the aircraft, which had 523 pilgrims on board, had since landed at the King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah late afternoon of Wednesday. He said the matter had nothing to do with the ongoing row over male guides to female pilgrims or any technical problem but due to communication lapses.