Passengers have continued to lament over incessant flight delays and in some cases cancellations across the country, taking on aviation authorities and the airlines for their seemingly unending woes.
Daily Trust reports that flights delays have been a recurring decimal in the country’s aviation sector but passengers said recent experiences have not been palatable.
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Our correspondent reports that there was a mild drama on a Max Air flight last week following what passengers called a five-hour delay on an Abuja-Bauchi flight.
Some of the passengers on board the flight alleged that the Pilot-in-Command attempted to de-board one of the passengers who complained about the delay resulting in a near pandemonium inside the plane.
“They kept us for three hours in Bauchi flying to Abuja. I think it is the same flight. We were supposed to leave Bauchi at 7:30 pm but didn’t until 11:39 pm. There is no single day that Max Air does not delay their flights from three to five hours or even cancel at the end,” said one of the affected passengers, Maryam Bagel.
Dapo Olawale, another passenger, said, “Max Air needs to stop delaying passengers especially Abuja – Bauchi. The same airline that would not compensate you for the delay does also charge extra cost for missing flights.”
Similarly, passengers on the Lagos-Kano flight on Azman Air were also stranded for hours last Thursday following delays of their flight for more than five hours.
However, a source with the airline told our correspondent that the delay was due to a technical problem as one of the airline’s planes was grounded in Lagos.
This affected other flight schedules for the day with passengers stranded across the various routes the airline operates to.
An airline official who spoke with our correspondent also confirmed that three of the aircraft belonging to the airline are away on C-check and they are expected back in the country.
“To ease the tension, we had to deploy our wide bodied aircraft, A340-600 to rescue some routes. We operated Kano-Lagos, Lagos-Kano to airlift all the leftover passengers,” he said.
Speaking on the Max Air Abuja-Bauchi drama, the airline’s Company Secretary, Barr. Shehu Wadda said the delay was due to the weather as it was rainy that day.
He, however, apologised to the passengers for the incident, saying the airline takes full responsibility for the issue.
“The incident has to do with weather and you know we take safety seriously in Max Air. We however apologise to the passengers for what happened that day. We exist because of them,” he said.
An industry expert, who spoke to our correspondent last night, confirmed that recent delays were largely due to weather.
Also speaking on flight delays, Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, said, “Of recent, the flying public must have been experiencing flight delays, flight cancellations. No airline wants to delay or cancel flights, it is more expensive to do that. No airline wants to delay flights. It is not in their best interest, but as a result of safety, flights may be cancelled or rescheduled. It is for the safety of the passenger and equipment.
“In Nigeria, no airline compromises safety anymore. Maybe it happened some 20 years or 30 years ago but the present NCAA does not make any compromise, the current oversight function on airlines is something that everyone has to be confident of because they make sure the right things are done.”