National Association of Seadogs (NAS), a.k.a. Pyrates Confraternity, has called for sanctions on airline operators over flight delays or outright cancellations.
In a statement, yesterday in Calabar, Cross River State, Capon of the Ikeja branch (Panama Deck), Iheanyi Konkwo, described recent cases in airports across the country as disturbing.
His words: “The time has come for the regulatory agencies like the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to take action and protect innocent passengers.”
The group decried the frequent cancellation and delay of flights in the country by airline operators without passengers getting compensated.
“Flight delays have become regular narratives at the local airports across the country without explanation to passengers who might have incurred financial loss or undergone emotional stress.
“The nation’s leading local operator has become the major culprit, as it flagrantly delays or cancels flight schedules. The truth should be told; if airlines are made to compensate passengers for flight delays or cancellations, they will sit up.
“Within one week, passengers in the Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Owerri, Benin, Asaba, Akure, Ilorin and Enugu airports have either experienced outright flight cancellation or delayed flight schedules for upward of four hours. This is quite disheartening.
“At the moment, most air passengers hold the view that they are being taken for granted. Whose fault? Regulatory agencies need to wake up. Today’s problem will continue to expand if not addressed.
“Some of the multiple flight diversions due to bad weather and aerodrome closure during sunset are as a result of inadequate or non-functional ground navigational equipment such as ground-to-air radar, Instrument Landing System, VHF Omnidirectional Range, among others. The regulatory agencies should wake up to their responsibilities in this regard.
“Only four airports in Nigeria have partially functional navigational ground equipment. They are Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano.
The rest are Visual Flight Rules airports and that is why you cannot land in Owerri, Benin, Asaba, Akure, Ilorin, Enugu, Warri, and the others at sunset,” it stated.
The association called on the regulatory bodies to monitor the functionality of equipment at the airports, especially during night flights and ensure that basic infrastructure in the airports was functioning.