International passengers stranded …as Arik staff ignore duties
Arik Air staff have abandoned their duty posts at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos following the airline’s inability to fly its international passengers to their destination since December 27.
News Gazette gathered that the airline cancelled some of its flights yesterday but continued to sell tickets to passengers going to London with 12. 45pm as the estimated time of departure (ETD) and Johannesburg with 13.30pm as ETD.
It was gathered that since there were no Arik staff to attend to the enraged passengers, they transferred aggression to the staff of the consumer protection directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“There were some cancelled flights yesterday. At noon today, no Ari staff was seen near the airport; they deserted all the counters. We, employees of NCAA are taking the heat; they (passengers) almost beat one of us up,” said an NCAA staff at the airport who preferred anonymity.
By 12.45pm, the airline was yet to fly its London-bound passengers. Similarly by 1.30pm the situation was the same for the Johannesburg passengers.
As of the time of filing this report, there was no reaction from the airline.
Its spokesman, Mr. Adebanji Ola could not be reached on phone.
More so, he did not reply to the text message sent to his mobile phone.
Arik has been in and out of one crisis since the beginning of the month. It would be recalled that earlier in month, passengers who flew the airline on 2nd, 3rd, and 4thDecember 2016 from London to Lagos grounded its international operations because of the airline’s inability to ferry their luggage more than 48 hours after their arrival.
Even with the intervention of NCAA, the airline could not honour their obligation to the passengers.
On December 27, NCAA made a final intervention by imposing a fine of N6 million on the airline besides giving it a marching order to pay $150 to each of the affected passengers with 30 days.
Similarly on December 20, Arik staff grounded its operations due to non-payment of seven months’ salary, non-remittance of taxes and pension, and stagnation of the work force for 10 years, among other things.
NCAA intervened after about 14 hours and brokered a truce between both parties.