Airlines under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) have condemned the spate of attacks on airlines workers by irate passengers particularly the recent attack by some unruly passengers on the staff of Max Air and the wanton destruction of the airline’s properties due to a flight delay.
President of AON, Dr Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina in a statement lamented that the incident has further heightened their deepest concern and worry over the increasingly deplorable state of security and the rising threat to the lives of airline staff and their properties at Nigerian airports.
The AON however warned that it may be forced to have a rethink on how to respond in such circumstances should a similar occurrence like the unfortunate case with Max Air happen to any of its member airlines.
He stated that the airport vicinity is a sensitive and sacrosanct environment where people are not allowed to behave in a callous and uncontrollable manner, decrying a situation where passengers are allowed to have access into sensitive restricted areas of the airport and attack airline staff or prevent a plane from departing to other destinations because a particular flight is delayed or cancelled puts the country in a bad light in the international community.
The AON chief explained that issues of delay or cancellation could be addressed in a civil manner without resorting to violence, stressing that the unruly passengers that went after Max Air and destroyed the computer reservation systems further exacerbated the problem for other passengers going to other destinations. Such acts are completely unacceptable.
His words, “AON understands the frustrations whenever a flight is delayed or cancelled and we apologize to passengers on behalf of airlines for such delays or cancellations. It is however instructive to note that delays happen worldwide and there are conditions that cause them”.
“In Nigeria, 80% of the causes of delays and cancellations are due to factors that are not in the control of airlines. Airlines operating in Nigeria are forced to operate in an environment that is wrought with infrastructure deficiencies that are highly disruptive to normal schedule reliability and on-time performance”.
He listed some of the more prevalent causes of delays and cancellations to include unavailability and the rising cost of Jet A1 (which today costs above N585 per litre in Lagos, N607 in Abuja and Port Harcourt, and N685 in Kano), inadequate parking space for aircraft on the apron sometimes leading to ground accidents, inadequate screening and exit points at departure, inefficient passenger access and facilitation, natural and unforeseen circumstances such as weather and catastrophic failures (e.g. bird strikes & component failures), and restrictions caused by sunset airports among others.
AON boss appealed to passengers to express some restraint in expressing their displeasure or frustrations during flight delays or cancellations.
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