Your weather excuses, operational reasons not tenable, N’ Assembly tells airlines

  • Angst as National Assembly invites airlines, NCAA, others for talks
  • FG to rehabilitate abandoned airstrips

 

 

The incessant delays and cancellations of flight which has found expression in the rot in the aviation industry could be a thing of the past as the National Assembly is seeking a reduction in the problem that has taken the joy out of air travel and one that has exposed the helplessness of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in stemming the tide.

To this end, chairmen Senate and House of Representatives committees on Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi and Nnolim Nnaji told journalists after inspection of some facilities of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) said the excuses for flight delay and cancellations were not genuine.

The duo who visited with members of their committees said the National Assembly would meet with airlines, NCAA, and others stakeholders to stem what they described as a ‘dangerous’ trend in the country’s aviation industry.

According to Adeyemi, “We are inviting all the airlines, the Director-General of NCAA, service providers and stakeholders. We are going to look at the civil aviation Act with a view to doing something about it urgently”.

 

NCAA DG, Capt. Musa Nuhu and Senator Smart Adeyemi at the Senate Committee on Aviation oversight of aviation agencies

Adeyemi took a swipe on virtually all the carriers for hiding under the excuse of ‘bad weather and operational’ reasons to cause hardship and pain to travelers.

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He further stated that in the event of a delay, the airlines do not show remorse by providing refreshments to their customers and ameliorating their pain, stating that they would no longer tolerate their insensitivity to passengers.

He reiterated that the committee would visit virtually all the airports in the country with a view to have a firsthand view of the decrepit state of some of the aerodromes and how they can make budgetary allocations to tackle the problem.

Nnaji who supported the view of Adeyemi admitted that incessant flight delays as experienced in the country’s aviation industry have ruined so many businesses said, “We cannot take it again”.

“We will invite airline operators under their umbrella body, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON). This is really affecting the whole country”.

Air travel in Nigeria is beset by frequent delays, and sometimes outright cancellation of flights without any justification.

A passenger on scheduled travel anywhere in the country at a particular time is never sure when the flight will take off or if it will take off at all.

This disorganizes business plans, appointments, and other engagements and gives rise to inconvenience and frustration, as travellers are sometimes left stranded at the airports.

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Sadly, this situation has gone on for years, and despite occasional directives from relevant authorities on this vexatious problem, nothing seems to have changed.

Some flight delays are caused by bad weather and the airlines cannot be blamed for this.

But most of the time, there is no rational explanation for the delay and cancellations leading to suspicion that they are deliberate, most often to take more passengers.

There is also the notorious ‘VIP movement’, which is now rather frequent. The authorities must deal with this nuisance.

Meanwhile, it is ordinarily expected that airlines with few aircraft operate fewer routes and destinations and therefore should run almost seamless services because they are unencumbered by complex scheduling challenges.

But all the airlines behave in the same manner, which suggests a serious systemic problem.

Nnaji who expressed sadness over the death of an air traffic controller who slumped and died on duty last year in Abuja as a result of a heart attack called for all the provision of defibrillators in all the airports around the country.

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest.

He lauded the AIB for being the only aviation agency in Nigeria to have the high energy shock in all its offices across the nation.

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Earlier, Senator Adeyemi who lauded the tremendous job done by AIB Commissioner/CEO, Akin Olateru and his team for bringing respectability to Nigeria’s aviation industry promised to hasten the passage of the agency’s intermodal Bill before the National Assembly.

He described aviation as very important to the economy, stressing that they would continue to provide more funding for the sector and management of the airspace.

“We made provision for rehabilitation of Zaria, Bida, Ajaokuta, and Uli airstrips, adding, “All these require attention. We are also interested in the well-being of the workers. Aviation workers’ need and welfare need to be taken care of including their condition of service”.

 

Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji

The industry is doing well because you have the right people in the right places. Our airspace is safer compared to what it used to be some years ago”.

The Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Mr. Lawrence Pwajok said the agency had made some strides but urged the lawmakers to approve more funds to tackle some of the challenges the agency faces.

Wole Shadare