Flight delay/cancellations: AON seeks end to attacks on airline staff, property

The umbrella body of scheduled airlines, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has strongly condemned the spate of attacks on its workers by passengers over incessant flight delays and cancellations.

A viral video had surfaced on social media showing how frustrated travelers took the law into their hands by manhandling Arik workers at the counters of the domestic airport in Lagos.

The over hundred passengers were seen protesting the delay of their early morning flight without the carrier informing them that the flight would be delayed for more than three hours.

The AON in a statement signed Alhaji Yunusa S. Abdulmunaf (President), Allen Onyema (Vice President) and endorsed by Alhaji Shehu Wada – Max Air, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo – United Nigeria Airlines, Capt. Mfon Udom – Ibom Air, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu – Arik Air, Capt. Abdullahi Mahmood – Aero Contractors, Alhaji Faisal Abdulmunaf – Azman Air, Capt. Edward Boyo – Overland Airways, Afolabi Babawande – Green Africa, and Mr. Sukh Mann – Dana Air said they are concerned that these violent attacks have gone on unrestrained across major airports across the country and therefore, strongly, and without equivocation, condemns them and call for immediate cessation.

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Some Nigerian airlines

“We feel the pain and frustration of travelers over delayed or canceled flights due to the disruptions such bring to their plans, and make good to remind the traveling public that no airline operator deliberately delays or cancels flights because the aircraft is meant to be in the air and not on the ground”.

“Aircraft on the ground, which is a huge loss to operators and impacts negatively on the economy of our dear country, is, however, mostly, for safety and so many reasons outside the control of operators. For this reason, AON has been at the front of seeking more effective ways to mitigate factors that cause flight delays and huge economic losses to the country.”

“However, we believe that the trend of violent attacks on airline staff and facilities have to stop. There have been instances where airline staff has been physically injured by passengers. Airline property running into millions of naira have also been destroyed by passengers”.

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They noted that the airline staff and facilities are not the cause of flight delays, stressing that they are also human beings, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc., working to earn a living and put food on the table for their families.

Violent attacks on airline staff, occasioning physical harm, they maintained are not a civilized and matured way for passengers to register their disappointments over flight delays or cancellations.

To them, there are better ways to do this which are also spelt out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in its manuals.

They advised passengers to pursue their rights through the Consumer Protection Council, expressing the concern that they are also worried that these violent attacks and destruction of property at airports go a long way to cause disruption of operations, insinuate lack of adequate security at the airports, and further impugn the image of our dear country.

“We, therefore, use this medium to call on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to improve security across the airports especially, as it relates to the security of airline staff and property”.

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They threatened that the operators would no longer sit back and watch the violent attacks go on unrestrained, saying passengers ought also to be informed that airline staff have rights and can use available legal means to enforce those rights and seek redress.

 

Some existing Nigerian airlines

“Going forward, our members may have to explore this option as no one is permitted, by law, to take laws into their hands. We, therefore, call for an immediate end to this trend.

We restate the commitment of our members to do all that is humanly possible to minimize incidences of flight delays and cancellations and remain focused on on-time flight operations and strongly condemn further violent attacks on airline staff and facilities.

Wole Shadare