Some airlines at Nnambdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, have apologised to passengers over flight delays and cancellations in the last one week.
They all attributed the flight delays and cancellations to bad weather conditions during separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Abuja.
Mr Kehinde Ogunyele, MAX Air Airport Station Manager, Abuja, who expressed his regret on some flight delays and cancellations for almost fortnight, pointing out that flight, could only be possible when weather improved.
“We have issues of bad weather, terrible bad weather for that matter in the northern states and even places like Port-Harcourt, Benin, Owerri and Warri.
“ We have to delay several flights for weather to improve. Our responsibility is to keep the passengers informed about the delay through announcement and which routes were affected.
“In cases where the trend of the bad weather does not subdue, we have to cancel the flight. Just like on Friday when we cancelled flight that was supposed to go to Lagos due to bad weather,’’ he said.
According to him, the weather is relatively a bit better now (Saturday).
AZMAN Airport Station Manager, Mr Ysman Nagodo, who also appealed to air passengers, noted that the airline had experienced two cancellations to Gombe and Kebbi due to bad weather and several delays recently.
He said that the Gombe flight was cancelled on Monday, while that of Kebbi was cancelled on Wednesday.
“Due to bad weather on some areas, we have experienced several delays recently.
“We cannot go to Kano in the morning and afternoon but only in the evening. We have been experiencing bad weather in Kano.
“Weather in Kano gets clear from 5p.m to 7p.m.; that is why our flights to Kano are rescheduled between 6.54p.m, 8p.m and 9p.m, so as not to cancel the flight and to achieve the trips.
“All I think the passengers need is timely information. They agree when they are properly informed about effect of bad weather on airlift,’’ he said.
Nagodo urged the media to help in complementing airlines` efforts by educating travellers to know that flight under bad weather was mostly impossible.
In a similar development, Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, expressed concern over experiences of air travellers to and from Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, regarding flight diversions and cancellations following weather conditions.
A statement signed by Mr James Odaudu, Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, quoted Sirika as saying authorities in the airport were in process of replacing old category two Instrument Landing System (ISL) with category three.
According to him, newly produced category three system allows for the lowest visibility landing.
“Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning of certain component, couple with unforeseen weather conditions, made landing at the airport difficult.
“The procurement of category three ILS is in pursuance of the desire of the Federal Government to ensure safety of air passengers by ensuring that airplanes can land with almost zero visibility.
“On the diversion of incoming international flight to neighbouring countries, we wish to reiterate that the decisions are purely those of the airlines, which we have no control over.
“However, it should be noted that those flights could, and should have been rerouted to the NAIA, Abuja, which is shorter or equidistant from Lagos to the foreign airports to which of the flights have been diverted,’’ he said.
According to the minister, Qatar airlines have applied to divert its flights to the NAIA, Abuja, to which has been granted immediate approval.
Sirika maintained that comfort, safety and security of the flying populace remained the central focus of the present administration.
He added that no effort would be spared to achieving it.