Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s new airline, has put many flights on hold after being forced to shift its operations to August.
The airline had sold tickets to many passengers that it offered the cheapest fare of N16,500 on various routes, including Lagos, Akure, Ilorin, Abuja, Owerri, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
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Many air travelers, it was learnt, rushed to purchase the ticket ahead of the commencement of flights.
However, their expectations were dashed over the weekend as the airline announced its operation would no longer start at the earlier advertised date of June 24.
They expressed shock and disappointment over the development, wondering why the airline would rush to sell tickets when they were not ready.
“I booked their flight for my brother who is to return to Lagos in two weeks and they moved it till August. This is somebody who is going back to school and they didn’t even offer to refund my N23,000,” said one of the affected persons.
Those who purchased the tickets have been asked to move their flights to a future date starting from August.
“Thank you for booking with Green Africa. Your booking means a lot to us because it shows how much you believe in the Green Africa journey.
“However, contrary to our plans, we have been rightly informed by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority that our Air Operators Certificate required to start flying will not be available till July 2021.
“You are now able to move your flight from ABV to LOS to a future date starting August 2021 at no extra charge. We apologise for the inconvenience,” read a message the airline sent to passengers.
Daily Trust gathered that the airline was actually warned against going ahead with the commencement of ticket sales which it started on May 25.
A highly placed source, who spoke with our correspondent in confidence, said, “The NCAA is not ready to wave any aspect of the AOC and all the five stages must be completed by any new airline. This is why we initially expressed reservation over the sale of tickets by the airline.
“The truth is because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently very busy revalidating the AOC of some airlines which were extended due to the pandemic and many demo flights are ongoing and we cannot attend to all the airlines at the same time.”
Green Africa, however, said it had suspended booking on its website, adding that those who have already bought tickets are being contacted.
Founder and CEO of Green Africa, Babawande Afolabi, said, “This is certainly a bump in the road, and we are mindful of the impact especially on our customers and other stakeholders. However, we are confident of the NCAA’s support and commitment to get Green Africa into service, and we have also put plans in place to compensate our affected customers.”
The NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, also said the process of issuing AOC to Green Africa is ongoing.