Air travellers using the
Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa have lamented what they described as incessant flight delays and inconveniences.
Passengers of Arik Air and Aero Contractor, decried the inconveniences costed them by delayed flight operations by the airlines that have resulted in embarrassing situations to their customers.
A senior Government functionary from Bayelsa State who spoke to The Tide said he was scheduled to board Arik Air flight to Abuja by 3:30pm on Friday could not travel till about 6:00pm, noting that the airlines are taking Nigerians for granted without proper apologies.
The man who pleaded anonymity said he left Yenagoa by 12:20pm and arrived the airport eearly enough for the scheduled flight time of 3:30pm, but regretted that the delay had caused him to miss an appointment.
Another staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) who would not want her name in print told The Tide Aviation correspondent that the airlines especially Arik and Aero contractors are causing much inconvenience throughout the month of July as a result of rescheduling of flights.
She described a particular day when a scheduled Arik Air flight for 6:45pm was delayed till 10:35pm, stressing that she got home that day some minutes past 12:00 midnight when she was expected to resume duty early the following morning.
Another Air Port business operator narrated a scenario where a student going to Machonald University Elele, arrived Port Harcourt airport with Arik from Lagos flight was stranded at about 9:50pm when a flight expected to arrive by 4:00pm was delayed unnecessarily.
The female student who cried uncontrollably as a result of the late arrival was however, facified after a female passenger offered to go home with her that night to enable her continue the journey the next day.
On Thursday July 24, 2014, a business man whose 11:30am Arik flight was delayed for two hours taught he could find succor in Aero contractors, but that was not to be and eventually stayed at the airport until the outcome of the meeting he was billed to attend was disclosed to him and the journey was aborted.
Efforts to get the reaction of management of Arik and Aero did not yield any dividend as The Tide was referred to Lagos for comments on the issue.
It would be recalled that recently the management of the two airlines had postponed flight schedules with the passengers only told to bear with the management.
This brings to the question of whether air travelers are helpless and what are the authorities concerned duties assist passengers.
COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff
At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.
This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.
S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS
South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.
Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.
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