In the month of November alone, the Consumer Protection Directorate, CPD, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, it recorded 427 delays, 3 air returns, delayed/missing luggage 2,209 and 3 flight cancellations on the international routes.
Statistics made available to newsbulletinng.com indicates 189,944 in bound passengers, out bound 186,229, operated by 26 airlines, total flights 1,327.
While delays on the domestic route was 3,476,flights cancellations 8, air returns 4, delayed/missing luggage 56, in bound 539,895, out bound 543,515, operated by 8 airlines and number of flights operated 6,136,
According to the Director, CPD, Mallam Adamu Abdullahi, last year, the NCAA recorded unprecedented complaints from domestic air travelers arising from flight delays and cancellations.
He attributed the complaints to lack of adequate aircraft by operators, adding that most of the aircraft were due for maintenance almost at the same time and had to be flown out of the country for the approved mandatory checks.
“We have gotten plenty of complains from passengers, you see the problem is, we don’t have enough aircraft operating in the country. Most airlines are down, Arik that used to have over 20 aircraft as at today can only boast of 7 or 8, Aero that also had something in the region of 12 is now down to 2 sometime 3, same with the other airlines”.
The CPD Director noted that passengers suffered untold hardships whenever there were disruptions in the flight schedule of airlines which affect all the routes operated by airlines.
“We are expected to have a long bad harmattan haze, when safety is involved comfort is no longer an issue, so we encourage airlines to make sure that they abide by the rules guiding their operations as oppose to passengers”.
Mallam Adamu appealed to airlines to carry their passengers along to prevent agitation when there are issues of delays and cancellations and to provide refreshments when flights are delayed beyond two hours.
On the solution to the problem, he called on airline owners to interline to minimize these issues of delays and cancellations.
“The best that can happen to Nigeria aviation is to have an interlining agreement. Most airlines if you have noticed have belts they operate, early morning, towards afternoon, evenings, if they have this interlining agreements among themselves in that if you have a ticket of one of the airlines, you come to fly the airline and the aircraft develops a technical problem, you can be endorsed on another airline to solve the problem”.
He added, “But somehow the airlines are not interested; we have been fighting over this for a very, very long time. I know that during the time of some past DG’s we have even got to getting reassurances that we are going to get to that waterloo nothing like that has happened”.