• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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System breakdown worsens check-in at Lagos airport

Panic at Lagos airport over electrical short circuit incident

Passenger facilitation process at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, has continued to worsen as a result of collapsed infrastructure at the nation’s busiest airport.

Checks by BusinessDay show that passengers spend over an hour in queues as airlines check-in passengers manually as a result of a system collapse which airport authorities have failed to resolve for over two months now.

“I am just about boarding a Virgin flight to London. The checking is chaotic as they are using manual systems because the equipment has broken down for two months.

“It takes thirty minutes to check in one passenger. We pay one of the most expensive ticket taxes in the world and yet this is the mess we get served,” a passenger lamented.

Another passenger who travels frequently told BusinessDay that he has to be at the airport four to five hours to his flight time or he is likely to miss his flight.

“The Lagos airport environment has become very chaotic. There is so much confusion at the airport that passengers do not even know who to ask questions as the airport authorities have become so disorganised,” the passenger who identified himself as Pius told BusinessDay.

Read also: Nigeria has most airlines in Africa but survival is low

Findings show that the Lagos International Airport has been operating manually because the Societe International Telecommunication Aeronautiques (SITA), which provides Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE), withdrew its services and the company, Arlington -RESA Airport Management Solution, which was supposed to replace SITA, was yet to install its own equipment to migrate airlines to the new system.

As a result, airline staff have been handwriting boarding passes and bag tags as some international airlines had to get an alternate option by using their own system and luggage printers.

Airlines have had to always send messages to their passengers asking them to arrive at the airport early for their flight because they were experiencing check-in delays due to local system outage.

Some airlines identified the problem as ‘airport system technical difficulties,’ but BusinessDay’s findings show that the airport authorities owe its former service providers and the newly engaged service providers are yet to set up their equipment at the airport, thereby delaying easy migration from the old to the new system.

Henrietta Yakubu, general manager, corporate affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), said the delays will soon be resolved as the RESA team has started moving in their equipment to the airport.

Yakubu had earlier told BusinessDay that SITA promised to be on ground for six months until the new company, RESA sets up but they pulled out just to embarrass FAAN because they were already aware that FAAN was not going to renew their contract.

“SITA refused to accept FAAN three months payment instead of six months but they are the ones that broke the agreement with FAAN. They presented a very high bill and FAAN could only manage the three months payments,” she disclosed.

Henrietta said FAAN has, however, provided a back-up/ ICTS for the airlines but found out that most airlines are not using it.