By Peter Egwuatu & Lawani Mikairu
Arik Air yesterday blamed the Instrument Landing System, ILS, at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and technical problems on their plane already boarded by passengers at Port-Harcourt International Airport for the delay and eventual cancellation of their Abuja bound flight.
The airline yesterday at the Port Harcourt airport kept its passengers on board stranded before announcing cancellation of the flight.
The Arik plane whose number could not be ascertained as at press time was scheduled to depart Port Harcourt as last flight of the day on Friday, 8th July 2016.
Mr. Achienevu Okafor, a passenger on board who disclosed to Vanguard said ” I am stranded here at the Port Harcourt airport. Is like we are going to sleep here inside the Arik plane as they have just announced the cancellation of the flight at about 11.30 pm.
This is a flight we have boarded since . They announced the cancellation without giving any reason to the passengers on board. Look at some passengers they are already sleeping here”
Continuing, he said” How can this airline allow us to pass the night inside a stationed aircraft.
At least an effort should have been made to at least give us hotel accommodation since it is not the passengers fault” he screened.
Later, Vanguard gathered that the passengers were later forced out from the plane and taken to the waiting lobby to pass the night.
Reacting to the incidence, the Communication Manager, Arik Air, Mr Ola Adebanji said “The flight was initially delayed out of Abuja because of the faulty ILS at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport which led to total blackout on the runway for several hours on Friday evening. This led to the grounding of outbound flights while inbound flights could not land. “
“Thus, the flight arrived Port Harcourt at about 10.30pm, later than scheduled. Then after boarding the Abuja bound passengers, the aircraft had technical issues and all efforts by the Captain to reset the engine was futile.
The aircraft was declared AOG and the flight rescheduled for Saturday morning .”
“However, some of the passengers refused to leave the aircraft insisting on being flown to Abuja that night even after they were briefed about the situation