By LAWANI MIKAIRU & DANIEL ETEGHE
LAGOS — Passengers who were billed to board Air Nigeria first flight at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) Lagos, yesterday, fought members of staff of the airline for rescheduling their flight.
Vanguard learnt that trouble started in the morning when Air Nigeria started its flight operations using their first flight to airlift stranded passengers of the previous day.
This, however, did not go down well with those who wanted to be on their first flight for their jobs. The situation caused uproar with the passengers raining abuses and insults on the counter staff and demanded a refund.
Meanwhile, the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, has absolves itself from the aborted flight of Air Nigeria to Abuja on Sunday night.
Disclosing the agency’s position to newsmen in a statement, General Manager Public Affairs of NAMA, Mr. Supo Atobatele said the agency had since February 7 2012 issued a notice to Air Men [NOTAM] and to all the airlines informing them that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja would be closed to traffic from 11pm till 6am.
“The closure according to the NOTAM would allow for the apron expansion work and upgrading of the approach lighting systm on runway 04/22 from Cat 1 to Cat 11 in accordance with the ICAO runway lighting system .The NOTAM advised pilots to adhere strictly to air traffic controllers’ advise ,that will be in place till June 30, 2012”
Mr. Atobatele however dismissed the airline’s reasons that the airspace was shut down for hours as incorrect. According to him, the airspace cannot be closed for more than 15 minutes at most and it was for security reasons as there was Presidential movement in Abuja .
Atobatele called on the airline to tell its passengers and the public at large what actually happened instead of blaming the airspace managers.
One of the passengers spoken to said that the airline was not truthful as the pilot on landing apologised for the delay in the flight blaming it on the airline’s inability to get aviation fuel.