Ikeja Branch of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) has lamented the poor services of airline operatives in the country and called on regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to wake up to its responsibilities.
The association also known as Pyrates Confraternity alleged that 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.
A statement issued on Sunday and signed by Iheanyi Konkwo decried the increasing rate of flight cancellations or delays without compensating passengers and noted that recent cases in Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Owerri, Benin, Asaba, Ilorin and Enugu airports, among others, were worrisome.
The organization, therefore, urged the regulatory agencies, namely the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, to enforce the sanctions on erring airlines so as to bring sanity to the sector.
“Flight delays have become regular narratives at the local airports across the country without explanations to passengers who might have incurred financial loss or undergone emotional stress.
“The nation’s leading local operator (name withheld) has become the major culprit as they flagrantly delay or cancel flight schedules. The truth should be told, if airlines are made to compensate passengers for flight delays or cancellation, they will sit up.
“Within a space of 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 an upward of four hours. This is quite disheartening.”
“At the moment, most air passengers hold the view that they are being taken for granted. Who’s at fault? Regulatory agencies need to wake up. Today’s problem will continue to expand if not addressed.”
The association also called on the regulatory bodies to monitor the functionality of equipment at the airports, especially during night flights. It also tasked the regulatory bodies to ensure that basic infrastructure facilities in the airports were functioning.
“The Nigerian aviation industry has been taken 40 years behind compared with their counterparts in other climes. Passengers blame airlines for operational anomalies, but the regulatory authorities also have their blames.
The group, however, called on regulatory agencies to wake up to its 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 airports 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,” the organization stating, adding that the statement was a wakeup call to the airline operators and regulatory agencies to change their approach to enhance services.