The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA says it has recorded unprecedented complaints from air travellers arising from flight delays and cancellations by domestic airlines in the country last year.
The Director, Consumer Protection, NCAA, Mallam Adamu Abdullahi said the directorate was inundated with so many complaints from passengers which he attributed to the harmattan haze and lack of adequate aircraft by Operators to run their Operations.
He explained 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”, he said
According to him, from the month of November last year alone, it recorded 427 delays, 3 cancellations and 2,209 delayed and missing luggage on the international routes, while on the domestic routes, 3,476 delays, 8 cancellations and 56 delayed and missing luggage.
He stated that because of the holidays in the month of December, complaints quadrupled due to poor visibility caused by the harmattan haze that led to many flight delays, re-routing and cancellations.
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 as well as provide refreshments when flights are delayed beyond two hours as required by the civil aviation regulations.
He urged airlines to enter into interlining or code-share agreement with other airlines to minimize the issues of delays and cancellations, adding that it was unfortunate that airline owners have failed to come together to form a formidable force despite the clamor by concerned stakeholders.