BusinessDay

Why flights are delayed in Nigeria – airline operators

The Association of Airline Operators said flight delays are caused by a number of factors such as weather conditions, fueling of the aircrafts, VIP movements, technical hitches amongst others.

Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman of United Airlines said this on behalf of the operators who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation investigating the frequent reports of flight delays and cancellation in Abuja on Wednesday.

Okonkwo stated that the reasons were basically to ensure safety and not necessarily their faults.

He said: “Before now, every flight delay in Nigeria has been blamed on operators. And operators, all they can say or are allowed to say to a very large extent is: ‘due operational reasons’.

“But when we look deeply, we had tried in the last few weeks due to the outcry to for the first time come out publicly to say, yes as much as we are not in anyway giving reasons to justify anything, but we saying that when there are delays on flight schedules, 80 to 90 percent of them are beyond the control of the operators.

Read also: Passengers groan as aviation fuel scarcity worsens flight delays

“Airline is one thing that is known around the world that has to do with schedule and timing. And also, aircraft are made to fly. If an operator that has engineers, that has officers, pilot, captains and every investment, the only time you make money is when the ticket are sold and the passenger utilises the ticket because you can still sell the ticket and the person comes to the airport and there is a flight delay he demands for refund which is his right.

“So everything you do from morning to night, from staff A to staff Z is how to get your flight on schedule and while considering that schedule you must have to guarantee safety.”

“When they use this operation, there are so many things that are hidden. You can imagine when you have waited one hour or one and half hours in Lagos and you have taken off to land in Abuja. And when you get to Abuja airspace and there is VIP movement, you cannot control that.

“You have to wait as long as it takes VIP movement to clear you for landing. And when you land, before now operators could say because of VIP movement but today we have been restricted not to mention VIP so that the blame should not go to somebody else. So again you would simply say for operational reasons. The airlines are blamed for it. Then it could be a typical airport to get a weather report on an hourly basis.”

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.