FG, airlines disagree over flight delays, cancellations

The Federal Government and domestic airlines under the aegis of the Airline Operators of Nigeria have disagreed over incessant flight delays and cancellations across the nation’s airports.

The carriers under the aegis of the Airlines Operators of Nigeria had recently said infrastructural issues such as lack of runway lights in some airports, and inefficiency on the part of airport managers were the major reasons for flight delays and cancellations in the nation.

However, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, in a counterclaim, said most airports in the nation have adequate facilities to allow for safe flight operations around the clock.

According to the airline operators, 80 per cent of the causes of delays and cancellations are due to factors that are neither in their control nor caused by them.

Specifically, the carriers said inefficiency on the part of the airports to provide some of its basic services were the major causes of the delays and cancellations.

However, spokesperson, FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said most airports in the country have adequate facilities to allow for safe flight operations around the clock.

She said, “Most of our airports have night landing facilities, if not, flights cannot operate at 12 midnight and 1am.

“Of course, they know that there are flights that have landed Abuja, Lagos at 1am, 2am in the morning. We have night landing facilities.

“Only a few airports have sunlight to daylight landing, but most of our airports have night facilities for night landing of flights, and the ones that even go to such airports too, for a fee, the airport still opens for them to land.”

Also, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Mr Khalid Emene, in an interview with our correspondent, said the issue of rendering night flying services to airline operators was connected to the operating hours of the airports.

He said, “It is the airport that works only during the daytime and is known to everybody in the aviation community. They all know. It’s not as if it’s a new thing.

“There are airports that are called sunset airports. Once it is evening, you cannot fly in. It’s not as if they do not know. They already know the operating hours of these airports.”

However, the Managing Director of Top Brass Aviation, a charter airline, Captain Roland Iyayi, said factors such as insecurity and lack of infrastructure were keeping airline operators from operating at optimum levels.

 In an interview with our correspondent, he said, “The issue of night flying in Nigeria has to do with infrastructure, but the security situation of the country is also another consideration.

“Then, of course, you talk about the market size of all these different markets you’re talking about. If the market size cannot sustain the aircraft type. Then, of course, it will be a loss, ab initio, so no airline would want to do that. Those are actually the issues.”

Article first published on the Punch Website

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