‘1500’ Lagos-bound passengers stranded in Ghana — four days after flight diversionby Haleem Olatunji
At least 1,500 passengers are stranded in Ghana four days after British Airways, Rwandair, Emirates and Qatar airlines diverted their flights from Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos to Kotoka International Airport, in Accra.
The airlines said they could not airlift the passengers to their intended destination because of unfavorable weather condition.
According to PRNigeria, British Airways (BA) already cancelled its flight to Lagos due to operational constraints.
In an email sent to passengers, the airline notified them of its plans to airlift those interested back to the United Kingdom.
“BA075-We would like to sincerely apologise for the disruption to your journey to Lagos. Due to adverse weather at the airport, we were unable to safely land into Lagos Airport… If you wish to travel from Accra – London Heathrow, there are limited availability of seats to book on,” the email read.
“Please speak with our colleagues at the airport to adjust your ticket, subject to availability. BA078 Accra – London Heathrow is scheduled to depart at 23:00 local time. Please submit your receipts for claims hotels, transport, refreshment, the cost for calls and internet access & transport to www.ba.com/helpme.
“Our Customer Relations team will review each case on an individual basis. We understand this is not what you expect when you travel with us and apologise for the significant inconvenience we have caused to your journey.”
Olayiwola Zaid, one of the BA passengers, lamented over the delay in airlifting passengers to Nigeria.
Zaid, a cybersecurity analyst, who claimed to have made alternative arrangement to fly to Nigeria via a domestic flight from Ghana, faulted the federal government for inappropriate actions over the incident.
“This frustrating, agonizing, but avoidable development will have prompted the Minister of Aviation and airport authorities to take appropriate actions in defence of their citizens. It is bewildering that an international airport like MMIA cannot boast of an efficient Instrument Landing System (ILS) and other fundamental air navigation equipment for an international flight,” he said.
Reacting to the development, Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN spokesperson, said the flights were not diverted to Ghana over lack of basic navigation and landing equipment at MMIA, but due to poor weather condition in Lagos after the aircraft had arrived the country.
Some passengers of a British Airways flight from London to Lagos had earlier accused the airline of abandoning them in Abuja over harmattan in Lagos.
On Thursday, Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, said the federal government is making efforts to improve visibility at Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
He said diverting flights to Ghana was purely the decision of the airlines as such could have been diverted to Abuja.
Editor’s note: This picture was used for illustrative purposes