Hundreds of passengers were left stranded for long hours on Saturday morning across Nigerian airports, as airlines battled to operate under poor visibility weather.
Mostly affected were flights to Northern Nigerian states, especially Kaduna, Kano and Ilorin, among others.
Airlines like Air Peace, Max Air and Azman Air, which operate to northern airports, have had to either delay, divert, reschedule or cancel flights to some of their routes in the north.
Bad weather conditions: The northern parts of the country are currently experiencing shades of cloudy and foggy conditions, while flights to southern parts were not affected so far by the poor weather.
The bad weather condition has led to delays and cancellations of flights since Tuesday, despite the alleged investment in flight infrastructure by the Federal Government in the past five years.
Frustrated air travellers: The departure lounges of the Abuja, Kano and Lagos airports were overflowing with frustrated passengers who thronged the facilities preparatory to connecting their respective destinations, only to be confronted with the situation.
For instance, a 6:15 am Air Peace flight to Kano on Saturday was diverted to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
The airline, which was already within the Kano airspace, had to divert to Abuja as the poor weather condition in Kano degenerated.
At Abuja airport, the airline advised its passengers to either disembark or return to Lagos.
Some of the passengers took the option of returning to Lagos, while the others disembark at Abuja airport.
What passengers are saying: One of the affected passengers, who identified himself as Florence Amaechi, told our correspondent that the pilot informed them of the poor visibility in Kano before diverting to Abuja.
According to her, the situation had led to the disruption of her plan in Kano but lauded the pilot for his display of professionalism. She said:
“While we were in Kano airspace, the pilot announced to us that the flight would be diverted to Abuja airport because of the poor weather in Kano. At first, some of the passengers were apprehensive of the situation, but nothing is more precious than life.
“At Abuja airport where we landed safely, the airline at first told us to wait for an hour to know if the weather condition would improve in Kano, but after about two hours, we were given an option of either disembarking on returning to Lagos.
“Some of the passengers decided to return to Lagos, while others took the option of disembarking in Kano. I love the professionalism of the pilot because he didn’t expose us to unnecessary danger.”
Situation at Ilorin Airport: Also, at the Ilorin Airport, no flight could land or take off as the poor weather pervades the city.
Some of the passengers who had earlier booked flights to either Abuja or Lagos and other destinations could not travel due to the bad weather. As of the time of filing this report, the situation had not changed at the airport.
Besides, flights to Ilorin and Kano at the Lagos airport could not be operated by some of the airlines.
Azman’s 10:30 am flight to Kano from Lagos could not be operated as scheduled. This led to its numerous passengers to Kano being stranded in Lagos, while its earlier Kano-Lagos flight scheduled for 08:00 could not also operate as scheduled.
Earlier warnings by NiMet: The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has persistently predicted dust and hazy weather and poor visibility of two to five kilometres and less than 1,000 meters over the entire country in the last few weeks.
The agency, like the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has been warning pilots against adverse weather situations that could affect flight operations.
NCAA also went further to solicit the understanding of passengers over delays and cancellations of flights due to adverse weather.
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