Aviation Industry: Aircraft Shortage Leaves Passengers Stranded
Airline passengers travelling from the Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, to other parts of the country are currently facing hard times as shortage of aircraft hits domestic airlines
Many passengers have been stranded at the airport as from Monday as the only few airlines operating were under pressure owing to the current surge in traffic.
The busiest route is Lagos-Abuja which has recorded influx of passengers in the last few weeks.
It was learnt that many passengers who had earlier confirmed their booking missed their flights for coming “a little bit late” to the airport as their seats were allocated to other passengers.
The few airlines that are operational are currently under pressure amidst the surging traffic, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Currently, only Air Peace, Arik Air, Azman and Max Air have strong showing on the domestic front out of about nine domestic airlines.
It was learnt that other airlines like Dana, Med-View and Aero Contractors have challenges in their domestic operations.
Dana Airline in particular has been off the radar over ongoing recertification by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) while Med-View’s operation has been downgraded to non-scheduled status over fleet reduction.
“This has brought pressure to the other airlines which are experiencing scheduling difficulties which is causing the current chaos you are witnessing,” an airline worker said yesterday.
There was chaos at the Murtala Muhammed Airport terminal two on Tuesday when some passengers that were to travel on an Azman Air flight were denied boarding after arriving the airport 20 minutes before departure when check-in was supposed to close 30 minutes before take-off.
However, it was learnt from sources at one of the airlines that the airline had to close counter on time to meet up with other schedules and create additional flight because of the huge demand.
Another source who spoke with our correspondent said, “Dana is not operating and Air Peace is not operating most of its flights. In fact we even have additional flights which are all fully booked till weekend.
“There is shortage of aircraft in the entire industry and there is inflow of passengers between Lagos and Abuja may be because of the increase in political activities,” he added.
When contacted, a manager at Azman, Saminu Tanko, also confirmed the surge in demand, saying, “You can’t afford to delay because of what is happening, because we needed to create extra flights. We can’t afford to delay because of one passenger or two passengers, that was why we had to close counter on time and depart on time so that we come back on time to create extra flights”.
Expectedly, the current situation has triggered slight price adjustment especially for passengers doing counter-booking. A passenger who bought a one-way ticket from Lagos to Abuja yesterday said he had to pay close to N50,000 for an Arik flight at GAT.
As at 3pm yesterday, there were no flights departing MMA2, it was learnt.
There are fears the situation might get worse as the yuletide festivities draw nearer.