Angry passengers disrupted Arik Air’s flight operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for some hours on Thursday because of the inability of the airline to transport them to their various destinations.
It was learnt that passengers of the carrier, who were meant to travel from Abuja to Warri, Delta State around 3pm on Wednesday, could not do so and the flight had to be rescheduled.
One of those affected told our correspondent that the passengers were asked to return to the airport on Thursday, but on getting to the NAIA, the airline announced that the flight had been cancelled.
This irked the travellers and made them to stage a protest, as they prevented other passengers of the airline who were travelling to other destinations from boarding their respective flights around 4.30pm on Thursday.
The Warri-bound passengers raised their voices at officials of the airline, as some of them demanded for a refund, while others asked the carrier to instead take them to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
It was gathered that officials of the carrier were able to prevail on the passengers after explaining that the aircraft could not leave for Warri because it had some technical issues and that there were no airfield lights at the Warri airport to enable landing at night.
Our correspondent also learnt that some of the passengers were lodged in hotels by Arik, as the carrier promised to fly them to their destination on Friday.
When contacted, the spokesperson for Arik Air, Mr. Banji Ola, explained that the aircraft that was meant to transport the travellers to Warri developed technical issues that needed to be sorted out, adding that the airport in Delta State lacked airfield lights to facilitate the landing of aircraft at night.
He said, “The flight was rescheduled yesterday (Wednesday) and today’s (Thursday) own was cancelled because the aircraft was AOG (Aircraft on Ground). And also, the Warri airport runs daylight operation, because it has no runway light.
“And aside that, you cannot take a jet to that airport. You cannot even operate a turbo-prop into the Warri airport, because it is a small airport. So, you are limited by the kind of aircraft you can operate into the airport. And that is why we are constrained. But everything has been adequately sorted out.”