who were scheduled to travel to Ibadan by Arik Air but were left
stranded for hours by the airline yesterday shut down operations at the
Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The aggrieved passengers blocked the boarding gate of the airport
and did not allow Arik and other airlines to board passengers to other
One of the stranded passengers, Saka Waheed, a civil society activist, told PREMIUM TIMES at about 9:30 P.M that the aborted flight was originally schedule for 3.25pm.
“Later, they came to tell us it had been changed to 4p.m. By 4 o’clock, they said flight
be 7pm. When it was 7, we were directed to enter a bus to take us to
the tarmac so that we could board the plane and leave for Ibadan.
Although we entered the bus, yet the
driver later told us to get down. In short, that was the point we were
told the flight had been cancelled, after we had spent over four hours
at the airport,” Mr. Waheed said.
He said they could not also assess their luggage, which had already
been checked in. He complained that neither airport officials nor Arik
Air staff offered them any explanation on why the flight was cancelled
and how to get their luggage.
“Because of that treatment, we are not
allowing anybody to travel out of Abuja until either airport officials
or Arik officials come to address us,” Mr. Waheed said.
Also complaining, another passenger, Tope Oladele, said:
“Well, as you can see; these people are
very barbaric. They are treating us like animals. Nobody has come to
explain what happened. They have left us stranded.”
Both Messrs Waheed and Oladele said there was no official at the
Arik stand to attend to passengers’ complaints as at the time this story
was filed yesterday. Officials of the Federal Airport Authority of
Nigeria [FAAN] as well as Arik Air’s spokesperson could not be reached
Passengers said Arik is notorious for arbitrary flight postponement
and cancellation and that they are disappointed that aviation
authorities have so far failed to call the airline to order.