*Airlines blames ILS, technical hitch

By Peter Egwuatu & Lawani Mikairu

Arik Air, yesterday, blamed the Instrument Landing System, ILS, at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja and technical problems on its plane already boarded by passengers at Port-Harcourt International Airport for  delay and eventual cancellation of  its  Abuja bound flight.

The airline, on Friday, at the Port Harcourt airport, kept its passengers on board stranded before announcing the cancellation of the flight.

The Arik plane  had been scheduled to depart Port Harcourt as the last flight of the day on Friday.

Mr. Achienevu Okafor, a passenger on board, who spoke to Sunday Vanguard, said: “I am stranded here at the Port Harcourt airport. It is like we are going to sleep 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  aircraft. At least an effort should have been made to give us hotel accommodation since it is not the passengers fault.” Later, Sunday Vanguard gathered that the passengers were forced out of  the plane and taken to the waiting lobby to pass the night.

Reacting to the incident, 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 .”

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