Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has decried the rising excesses of airlines in the country, urging the regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to check the activities of airlines.
According to the NAS, the increasing rates of flight cancellations and delays without compensating passengers has placed a burden on the regulatory agencies to protect Nigerians.
The Capoon of Panama Deck, Mr Godstime Awoze, urged the regulatory agencies, namely Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to enforce the sanctions on erring airlines so as to bring sanity to the sector.
The association, whilst calling on regulatory bodies to monitor the functionality of equipment at the airports, especially during night flights, tasked them to ensure that basic infrastructure facilities in the airports were functioning.
The statement, signed by Mr Iheanyi Konkwo, reads:
“Flight delays have become regular narratives at the local airports across the country without explanations to passengers who might have incurred financial lose or undergone emotional stress. The nation’s leading local operators have 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.
“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. 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.
“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 Omni directional Range, among others. The regulatory agencies should 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 other 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.”