Many passengers on Thursday struggled for flight tickets at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to travel for the Eid el-Fitr celebration as few domestic airlines were currently operating optimally.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there was traffic upsurge at the domestic terminal of the airport on Thursday morning, especially at Terminal D, where Air Peace operates from.
Some of passengers were seen struggling to secure seats to Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, which according to them, were not available.
William Audu told NAN that he could not get available seat through online booking; so he decided to go to the airport to see if he could secure any available seat on any flight.
Mr Audu, a Lagos bound passenger, told NAN that First Nation and Medview airlines were not operating.
He said that some airline officials promised to help him secure a seat at a high cost but he declined to disclose the amount.
An airport official who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that only Air Peace currently had full flight schedule with the highest number of flights as well as aircraft.
According to him, First Nation has not scheduled any flight for close to two months while Medview’s last flight operation was on June 8.
The official further said that other domestic airlines such as Azman, Aero, Arik and Dana were also operating with fewer aircraft, adding that some of their aircraft were on maintenance check.
Azman, he said, was currently operating with only two of its four-fleet two aircraft on Abuja, Lagos and Kano routes as one was deployed for Hajj operation while the fourth is on routine maintenance check.
He said it was difficult for Lagos-bound passengers to get seats since Medview and First Nation were not operating.
Christian Iwarah, Communications Manager for Air Peace, said that the airline was currently operating with 24 aircraft.
Mr Iwarah said that no airline could operate with all its aircraft at the same time since it was standard procedure to always carry out maintenance check on them.
“There is no airline that will have all its aircraft flying at the same time because you have a time for maintenance and when an aircraft is on maintenance, it cannot be in operation.
“Aircraft are scheduled for maintenance and when the time comes, you have to take them.
“All our aircraft are not flying but we have 24 aircraft that we are flying at the moment and we are operating optimally,” he said.