By Gboyega Oni
Airline operators in the nation’s aviation industry have attributed the incessant flight cancellations or delays to shortage of infrastructure at airports, fuel supply, unruly behaviour of passengers and traffic gridlocks along airport road.
The airline operators disclosed these challenges at the just concluded stakeholders’ forum in Lagos. The forum was organised by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to tackle the problem.
While acknowledging their challenges with assurance of tackling them, the management of NCAA however declared zero tolerance against flight cancellations/delays.
The airlines were admonished by NCAA to be realistic in their flight planning/schedules, always disseminate on time information to passengers on flight status and to ensure they provide right to care to passengers in times of delays/cancellations in line with the Nig. CARs 2015 Part 19.
To also mitigate flight cancellations/delays, the stakeholders agreed that NCAA and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) should liaise with the appropriate authority to replace fuel hydrants if the old ones will cost a lot of money to be fixed and the supply points should be connected to the airports.
Also FAAN, airport operators/owners must ensure that facilities such as lightings, carousels, cooling systems etc at the airports are functional.
On the issue of security at the nation’s airports FAAN was urged to beef up security to prevent unlawful interference as airlines’ representatives were advised to be available to testify whenever cases of unruly passengers are referred to the Nigeria Police Force.
The stakeholders noted that inputs from airlines should be considered by the government in the design/construction of airports to avoid a repeat of the mistakes of the past, saying airlines should develop responsive crisis management systems and file their Operation Disruption Manuals with NCAA as required by law.
All the airlines were warned to always adhere to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs 2015) and Passengers Bill of Rights in their dealings with passengers for them to get value for their money.
The forum was attended by 13 International airlines, 8 domestic airlines, and Airport operators – the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services.