Christmas: Passengers groan, count losses over flights delay, cancellation in Nigeria

THE indications that domestic air travellers may stay longer with incidences of flight delays and cancellations as airlines give a long list of challenges that have compelled them to such poor performance.

This is coming on the heels of the inability of the aviation authorities, including the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, airlines and other stakeholders in the country’s inability to address the shortfall in the sector.


The development has become a norm in Nigeria’s aviation sector, as over 60 per cent of flights operating in the country are being delayed, while about 13 per cent are cancelled according to statistics obtained from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.


A breakdown of the challenges responsible for the constant flight delays include: foreign exchange, scarcity of aviation fuel also known as Jet A1, inadequate check-in counters, airport apron area not enough, airports across the country are mostly sunsets thus unavailable for night operations.


Stakeholders have stated that the issue of delays was not solely the airlines’ responsibility as those supposed to provide infrastructure and support the airlines were not given Nigerian airlines adequate infrastructure to support their business.


Also, the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, has called on the FAAN to increase the number of check-in counters to reduce flight delays experienced by passengers at the airports.


According to AON, Vice President, Allen Onyema airlines are experiencing inadequate counters to check in thousands of passengers, especially during the yuletide period when there would be an increase in passenger traffic.


“Flight delays and probably cancellations may be a topic for discussion this yuletide if nothing is done about the current inadequate counters for domestic airlines to check-in passengers, especially at the Abuja Airport.


“Most airlines have brought in new aircraft from two to ten to augment their operations during the yuletide but the challenge is beyond fleet size.


“This is especially if facilitation is slowed as a result of the lack of capacity of the airport to handle flights from Abuja to destinations like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Kano, Uyo, Asaba etc, all at once.


“Even in international operations, domestic airlines are left with three counters to operate.


“I wrote to FAAN, the Ministry of Aviation on the issue of the Abuja check-in counters, saying that it was not encouraging for nine or ten airlines to be assigned in one small space.”


In response to the development, the Managing Director of FAAN, Rabiu Yadudu, assured stakeholders that they are going to do something about it.


Passengers groan, count losses

The cancellation and delay of flights have frustrated most travellers who may not be able to do away with air transportation, following the high rate of insecurity across the country.


A traveller, Fadugba Ekundayo who narrated his ordeal in a Facebook message, stated that after Airpeace cancelled a 3.00 pm Ibadan-Abuja flight he had booked earlier he decided to try Ibom Air since he was already at the airport when he learnt of the cancellation.


He said: “I had an appointment to keep, so I booked Lagos to Abuja for 8.00 pm, and opted to travel by road for three hours to catch the flight in Lagos.


“Ibom air without any form of apology except for the usual operational reasons delayed the flight till about 10: 30 pm.


“In Lagos, I saw passengers of Max Air heading to Kano, whose flight had been slated for 6:00 pm, still stranded at the airport. When I eventually arrived in Abuja shortly before midnight, I ran into robbers who snatched my phones and other valuables just as I was leaving the airport.”





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