Air Nigeria mistreats passengers, leaves them sleeping on metal chairs overnight

Air Nigeria seems to have poor customer relations

An Abuja-bound Air Nigeria Boeing 737 aircraft was turned back mid-air Sunday night resulting in families sleeping on the cold floor and metal chairs at the Lagos Airport.Passengers on board flight VK55 were initially scheduled to depart Lagos on March at 6 p.m. Estimated time of arrival in Abuja on the 1 hour flight was 7:20 pm. The aircraft conveying 124 passengers eventually left at 10 p.m., four hours behind schedule.”Just as the craft was approaching Abuja, the pilot was told to turn back,” Utibe, a mother of two, told Premium Times.The pilot, captain Ibrahim Ba, had announced the descent of the plane and asked all passengers to take landing positions; but few minutes later he announced airport authorities at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport had denied them access to land.  “He announced Abuja is not allowing him to land, that Abuja airport is closed. So he had to turn around and go back,” Utibe said.On return to the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, at 20 minutes past midnight, the co-pilot explained that before they left for Abuja, they had contacted the authorities in Abuja airport alerting them they would be arriving slightly after 11 pm; to which they agreed before their take off.”It was when we started the descent, we now radioed Abuja that we are approaching and would land seven minutes after 11 pm, but the control tower said they have closed,” the co-pilot was quoted as telling passengers.Despite entreaties to the  Abuja control station that on board the plane, filled to capacity, were parents, children and the aged, the aircraft was not allowed to land. It returned to Lagos where another drama ensued.Several passengers, including former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniels, cared less about the plight of others as they alighted and left the airport for their various abodes. Others, having no where to go, quickly returned to the plane. They refused to leave and held the cabin crew hostage inside the plane, insisting Air Nigeria take responsibility for their well being. Not even the intervention of airport officials could dissuade the visibly angry passengers who felt slighted that the airline had left them alone to their plight, several hours after their initial flight was delayed. The airline’s duty manager, identified as Mr. Tunde, eventually came and pacified the passengers by telling them that for the same flight to have sufficient fuel to take them to Abuja early today by past 6 a.m., they needed to disembark. He promised making the departure lounge ‘comfortable’ for them to sleep.Passengers thereafter requested for food, pillows and blankets, used for long-distance trips which are kept in their store, to keep warm. While only remnants of cake, juice and water was given to the stranded passenger, Mr. Tunde never provided them the much needed blankets.Scores of passengers were left crouching, some lying on the cold floor and others across the metal chairs in the airport, while waiting for their new flight scheduled of 6 a.m. this morning.”There were about 60 of us. They did not give us any covering. And in the early hours the place was cold,” said Amara Nwankpa. “It was just horrible. There was no sanitation, no water in the rest room.”For several business persons, the lack of hygiene and proper sanitation in Nigeria’s busiest International Airport meant not being able to even sparsely clean up ahead of their early engagements in Abuja.The spokesperson for the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Supo Atobatele, however defended the agency’s refusal to allow Air Nigeria’s aircraft to land, citing a February 7 Notice To Air Men (NOTAM) against local and international flights landing in Abuja after 11 p.m. “The airline is not serious,” Mr. Atobatele said. “Because there was a NOTAM issued to airlines across the globe that they can only operate between 5 a.m. and 11 pm.That the airport is closed for maintenance of the apron expansion and rehabilitation of approach light on 04/22 [runway].

Air Nigeria mistreats passengers, leaves them sleeping on metal chairs overnight

Mr. Atobatele said all airlines and pilots had being duly “advised to adhere strictly” to the NOTAM which would last till June 30. He denied there was any concession given to Air Nigeria’s flight VK55.When contacted, Air Nigeria’s spokesperson, Samuel Ogbogoro, said he needed time to get the facts of the matter, promising to give an official reaction by 3 p.m. Nigerian time.Also reached for comments was the spokesperson for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Akin Olukunle, who twice cut the call following questions about the poor maintenance of facilities at federal airports.”I have never had such an appalling experience, ever in my life,” said Jose Dovonou, a citizen of Benin Republic, who unable to sleep throughout his ordeal, arrived at his 9 a.m. meeting in Abuja disoriented. “They just abandoned us. This is not done in civilised countries.”


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  • Chuks I. Okafor

    Air Naija has to pay damages to all passengers on that flight. These pics are sad and appalling. This is inhuman. You don’t treat your customers like animals, like people of no fixed abode. WE DEMAND COMPENSATION FOR THEM. We should not continue to let this kinda thing happen in Nigeria.

    • grace

      i concur with you,but not just AIRNIGERIA, ALSO this bodies that i do not know their essence of being formed Nigeria Civil Avaition Authority,NigeriaAirspace Management agencyand so many other Agencies that are in connection with air lines operators in enough is enough

  • Gmkonsult Ltd

    This comment: “Several passengers, including former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniels, cared less about the plight of others as they alighted and left the airport for their various abodes” does not belong to here and to your class of journalism. Now tell me did the passengers buy their tickets from OGD? Did they expect him to stay and start looking for accommodation for them. Honestly you will need to educate your boys and girls on how to put together a proper story.
    Lola VM

    • grace

      mr gmkonsult ltd, ,with more people like you in the country,such a country would continue to degenerate,decompose,deteriorate,static,that is why i cry for our country everyday because our populace are myopic in reason they do not even know their rite so how can they differentiate rite from wrong.every body must make a statement or contribution just so that he/her voice be heard.we aren’t saying that OGD should look for accommodation n all the bizarre stuff made in yr comment.if you did government and understand the true meaning of governance you wouldn’t be saying what u are saying.if that’s the case there’s no need for governance,d government or even d leader.please lets bare in mind that to salvage our dear county we need “true leaders” who can “sacrifice” a true leader who would always stand for equity n justice.

    • OGDshame

      Mr and/or Mrs Gmkonsult Ltd (which is a front for Gbenga Daniel), SHAME ON YOU!

      So you are ok that a would-be-i want-the world-to-recognise frm governor of a state would see fellow nigerians in such dire condition and walk away. I wouldn’t doubt if there were Ogun state indigenes there he abandoned.

      There is no excuse, a man of his clout and connection, could have shown he is a true leader by making a few calls, pull a few strings, get a few favours to aid the stranded passengers; even get accomodation for the night. He has the money and power. But what did ‘YOUR LEADER’ instead do —— HE WALKED AWAY. Shame on you both!!!

  • Joyada

    I’ll tell you why OGD shouldn’t have been silent on the matter: because he represents Nigerian leadership. Oh I forget! Nigerian leadership couldn’t be bothered about the simplistic problems of the common man. Why else is every Nigerian man his own government? Because our leaders have all their needs, everyone else can jump in a lake. Tomorrow we’ll hear OGD is running for some public office, expecting public support, but when the public needs his support on a matter of public interest, he’ll simply hop into his Bentley (or whatever other ride he purchased with public funds) and hide under the ‘it’s not my responsibility’ privilege. Did passengers buy their tickets from Premium Times?

  • Utibe01

    I was on the flight……and was appalled at the way the Air Nigeria had disappeared by the time the craft got back to Lagos! The blankets and pillows they serve during in their Dakar flight, they claimed was at the International terminal and hence they could not get to it! The airport hotel in the airport vicinity, they said it was too late to contact them. Food we asked for @ 2AM, they gave the remnant of the cake we had already taken in the craft, with Dansa juice and water. The Fastfood restaurant (Things remembered) next to where we slept, had snacks and food, but the management was insensitive enough to only give cake and water, even to the mothers with children! The water was not even enough to go round! The toilets did not have running water, so we could not freshen up in the morning! The authorities said they lock the water at 12midnight, so we should manage it like that! The NCAA we could have lodged our complaints with had already gone home and had not yet resumed by the time we left (around 7am, for a 06.05am flight)
    Whether it be Air Nigeria or it be Jimoh Ibrahim, we are demanding compensation!

  • Ikenna

    I was on the flight and as described it was unfortunate. Flight fares were hiked as if we were on per minute billing! I paid N28,800 and someone else after me said he paid N32,000 meanwhile before I bought someone paid just over N24,000. I believe this should not be left to go just like that!

  • Estherthompson6018

    There is a need for a watchdog to report on the excesses and the outrageous treatments that service providers mete out to customers/clients/users etc. we allow them far too much ground and now we have become like scum to them judging from the way we are treated – and we are paying for the shabby treatment with our hard earned money – doeas this senario look right ???????