- Stranded Med-View Passengers Disrupt Activities at Lagos Airport
Dubai and London-bound passengers of Med-View Airline on Thursday took over the carrier’s check-in counter at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and also disrupted activities at nearby check-in counters.
Eyewitnesses said the passengers had been stranded for several days due to flight delays and cancellation.
Some of the aggrieved passengers were said to have gone to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Consumer Protection Department desk to complain, alleging that the airline did not send any update through emails or text messages despite preventing some of them from travelling to London since December 24.
Some Dubai-bound passengers joined the protest with one of them alleging that he received a text message from the airline rescheduling the 1pm flight for Thursday to 2am on Friday due to operational reasons.
The airline had last week issued a statement blaming its inability to airlift the passengers on adverse weather and technical issues.
In another statement signed by its Accountable Manager, Mr. Michael Ajigbotosho, on Thursday, the airline said delayed flight operations out of Gatwick Airport, London on December 22 caused the problem as it created a backlog of passengers.
He said the flight VL 2101 out of London to Lagos on Friday, December 22, which had about 300 passengers on board, returned back to Gatwick after departure as a precautionary measure taken by the pilot in line with Aviation Standard and Recommended Practices.
Ajigbotosho added, “This led to the cancellation of the flight as the aircraft was declared AOG (Aircraft on Ground). The passengers were catered for, they were lodged in a hotel and those who decided to go back home were also taken care of. After the aircraft was declared AOG, we had to wait for a maintenance report. The aircraft had to remain on ground until a certified expert carries out the necessary checks and certify that the aircraft is airworthy.
“So the holiday compounded the problem. In line with that confirmation, we decided to seek for a relief flight and tried as much as possible go get the approval from both the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the CAA of the United Kingdom in Gatwick. We attest to their full cooperation and we appreciate them.”
He added that the airline felt the concern of all its passengers and on Wednesday positioned three aircraft to ferry the affected passengers after securing the approval of the CAA and the NCAA.
According to him, the three aeroplanes would have evacuated 700 passengers and would have normalised the situation.
“But the passengers neither understood or knew the challenges ahead, which resulted into having a delayed operation and crew rest, and we ended up operating two flights out of three” he added.
Ajigbotosho, while appealing for more understanding from passengers, stated that normal flights would resume on Friday to London, Dubai and Jeddah.
Meanwhile, scores of domestic passengers on Thursday were stranded in Lagos due to delays and cancellation of their flights as a result of the adverse weather occasioned by the harmattan haze.
According to findings, the most affected routes were Port Harcourt, Benin, Akure, Calabar, Enugu and most parts of the North.