The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has blamed the incessant flight delays and cancellations in local operations on the depleted fleet of some of the operating airlines. The apex regulatory body said t he multiple delays further worsened during the festive period, as several of the aircraft went on routine maintenance.
However, the airlines said poor infrastructure at most of the airports and bad weather were to blame for frequent disruptions than their fleet capacity.
The Director, Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD),NCAA Adamu Abdullahi, said last year was a watershed in terms of customers’ dissatisfaction, as the authority recorded an unprecedented number of complaints from domestic air travellers, arising from flight delays and cancellations.
Abdullahi attributed the complaints to in adequate aircraft by operators, adding that most of the aircraft were due for maintenance almost at the same time and had to be flown out of the country for the approved mandatory checks.
“We have gotten plenty of complains from passengers. The problem is, we don’t have enough aircraft operating in the country. Most airlines are down. Arik that used to have over 20 aircraft as at today can only boast of seven or eight. Aero Contractors that also had something in the region of 12 is now down to two or three. The same is true of other airlines,” he said.
The Director noted that passengers suffered untold hardships whenever there were disruptions in the flight schedule of airlines, which affect all the routes operated by airlines.
“We are expected to have a long bad harmattan haze. But when safety is involved, comfort is no longer an issue. So, we encourage airlines to make sure that they abide by the rules guiding their operations as oppose to passengers.”
Adamu appealed to airlines to properly notify their passengers as circumstance demands, to prevent agitation when there are issues of delays and cancellations..
On the solution to the problem, he called on airline owners to interline to minimise these issues of delays and cancellations.