Air travellers stranded as carrier abandons operation
• NCAA intervenes in Arik, unions’ crisis
Scores of passengers were stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Monday, when their carrier, Azman Air, allegedly abandoned the scheduled flight for charter operation.
Several of the travellers said they were not informed of the cancellation, although a few others said they got information about the cancellation late Sunday night.
Coincidentally, it was on the day aviation workers’ unions picket Arik Air, causing massive disruption and attendant fare hike across the network.
In a related development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has intervened in the industrial face-off between Arik Air and a coalition of aviation workers’ unions. While the parties were invited to a meeting yesterday, the airline has resumed flight operations.
A travel agent, who was affected by the disruption, Adebola Adebiyi, said several of his clients were affected by the cancellation, while all efforts to get across to the customer care line of the airline proved abortive.
According to Adebiyi, he had bought tickets for five clients, who were scheduled to travel to Abuja with the 10:30 a.m. flight of Azman from Lagos about three weeks ago, but was shocked to receive an e-mail from the airline saying that the flight had been cancelled without further options.
He observed that the airline blamed “operational reasons,” though didn’t explain the detail of the cancellation.
Adebiyi said: “The airline on Sunday evening sent a message to me that the flight was cancelled due to operational reasons. Immediately I received the message, I tried to call the number, but it was switched off. I sent an email, but there was no response from them.”
Another passenger, Susan, threatened to sue the airline for breach of contract. She got information about the flight cancellation at the airport, and the airline would not make a refund.
She said: “I won’t allow this to go lightly because I already had a scheduled appointment in Abuja today (Monday). This is not the first time this airline would do this to me, but I won’t allow this to go unnoticed.”
Efforts by our correspondent to get across to Azman Air on the issue proved abortive, as the only known mobile line of one of the management staff of the airline could not be reached.
Manager, Public Relation & Communications of Arik, Adebanji Ola, confirmed the resumption of flights after Monday’s disruption by unionists.
“Once again, we apologise to all our valued customers for the disruption to their travel plans on Monday and assure them of our resolve to continually adhere to safety standards. Passengers with tickets, who could not fly on Monday, can modify such tickets at no extra cost to travel at any time,” Ola said.
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