Med-View Airline abandons London, Dubai-bound passengers at Lagos Airport

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After the fanfare that heralded Med-View Airline’s maiden flight to Dubai on December 7, 2017, the airline has dashed the hope of the passengers who had bought tickets to fly to that city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as those who were to be flown to London.

At the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, hundreds of passengers were stranded as the airline could not provide aircraft to fly them to their destinations.

Consequently, both the Dubai and London-bound passengers invaded the airline’s counters and disrupted its operation in the early hours of Thursday.

Not satisfied with that, the aggrieved passengers matched to the consumer protection directorate of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), about five kilometres from the airport to lodge complaint and vent their anger.

Some of the passengers who spoke to Newsgazette.com.ng said they had been abandoned at the airport since December 24.

Some of the passengers who spoke to claimed they ought to have flown out of the country to their destination, London, since on the 24th of December and there had been no word from the airline.

A Dubai-bound passenger who identified himself as Cletus said his flight was cancelled on December 26 and rescheduled for today but he was not sure whether it would happen.

“We are many who were scheduled to fly on Monday but we never did. The flight was scheduled for today but from the look of things, it is not certain as we have not heard a word from the airline. No official of the airline has come here. That was why we joined those who went to the NCAA to protest,” he said.

Another passenger who was due to leave on December 24 said there had been no information as to when the flight had been rescheduled.

The woman who said she had a 15-month old baby said she was angered by the attitude of the airline’s management that had chosen to remain incommunicado.

“This is not good for the image of the airline that launched its Dubai route with fanfare earlier in the month. We were relieved that at least a Nigerian carrier is plying the Lagos-Dubai route; that at least we now have something to call our own. But look at the disappointment. It’s too early for the airline behave this way; it’s regrettable,” she said.

For the London-bound passengers, Newsgazette.com.ng learnt that they were checked in on Ethiopian Airways, Kenyan Airway and RwandAir.

However, Med-View had in a statement issued in London later today attributed the delay in airlift of passengers from Lagos to delayed flights out of Gatwick Airport.

The airline’s chief operating officer/accountable manager, Mr. Michael Ajigbotosho, said the airline had to deal with aircraft on ground (AOG) situation at Gatwick compounded by the holidays and other uncomplimentary factors that made the situation linger.

He also said the carrier had got the approval for three aircraft to airlift about 700 passengers but for the unruly behavior of some passengers which made Border Force wade in and eventually only two of the flights could leave.

“Our flight VL 2101, out of London to Lagos on Friday December 22, which has about 300 passengers on board, returned back to Gatwick after departure as a precautionary measure taken by the pilot-in-command in line with Aviation Standard and Recommended Practices.

“This led to cancellation of the flight as the aircraft was declared AOG (aircraft on ground). The passengers were catered for; they were lodged in a hotel and those who decided to go back home were also taken care of.

“After the aircraft was declared AOG, we had to wait for a maintenance report. The aircraft had to remain on ground until a certified expert carried out the necessary checks and certify that the aircraft is airworthy. And the holiday compounded the problem.

“In line with that confirmation, we decided to seek for a relief flight and tried as much as possible go get the approval from both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Nigeria and the CAA of United Kingdom in Gatwick. We attest to their full cooperation and we appreciate them.

“We announced to operate three flights feeling the concern of all our passengers. On Wednesday December 27, we positioned three aircraft after securing the approval of the CAA including Nigerian authority.

“Disappointingly, due to the unruly behaviour of some Nigerian passengers, the Border Force had to intervene to support the operations for crowd control purposes.

“These three aero planes would have evacuated 700 passengers which would have normalized the situation. But the passengers neither understood or (sic) knew the challenges ahead which resorted into having a delayed operation and crew rest and we ended up operating two flights out of three.

“We use this medium to appeal to our Nigerian customers. As much as we appreciate their patronage and apologize for the experience they went through this Christmas, we seek for their understanding to know that their safety comes first before any other thing.

“We feel their concern and the expectations of meeting their families for the Christmas Holiday. Our normal flights resume on Friday for London, Dubai and Jeddah,” said Ajigbotosho in the statement.

 

 

 

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