One of the two Nigerian airlines operating direct flight operations to the United Kingdom, Med-View Airline, on Thursday blamed British authorities for the recent delays in the arrival of its London-Lagos passengers’ luggage.
The airline, which flies to Gatwick Airport in London, attributed the delay in passengers’ luggage arrival to the closure of the major runway in Gatwick for rehabilitation purposes and the Christmas holidays observed in the United Kingdom.
Med-View Managing Director Muneer Bankole stated this on Thursday in Lagos while addressing some of the aggrieved passengers of the airline whose luggage have yet to arrive in the country since last Saturday.
According to Mr. Bankole, the airline received short notice about the closure of the runway, which limited its operations out of the European country, adding that some of the support staff refused to resume work during the holiday period, a situation which he said badly affected the smooth operations of the carrier.
Mr. Bankole, however, disclosed that the airline had made an arrangement with British Airways to bring the luggage on Friday and Saturday this week, assuring passengers that any problem associated with delayed luggage would be put to rest by Monday next week.
“What happened to us is just unfortunate. The British authorities closed the major runway for rehabilitation and only the emergency runway was opened for landing and the taking off of aircraft. The closure of the lengthy runway was a major disaster for us,” he said.
“Also, the ground staff in London said they won’t work on public holidays and refused to work as planned. Can anyone try that in Nigeria? But, as we are talking now, we have made arrangements with British Airways to bring the luggage of affected staff in two batches. The first batch will arrive on Friday while the second batch will arrive in the country on Sunday through British Airways. On our own part, we will bring the remaining luggage on Saturday.”
Some of the aggrieved passengers had threatened to disrupt the airline’s operation at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos unless their luggage was returned into the country.
One of the affected passengers, Christiana Mosire, decried that her luggage was yet to arrive in Nigeria since last Saturday, despite the assurances of the airline management.
Another passenger, Veronica Awarururo, blamed the management of the airline for the communication gap that has existed since Saturday, stressing that when they arrived Nigeria, no ground staff of the airline was ready to offer them an explanation for the non-arrival of their luggage.
Mr. Bankole, however, assured that the affected passengers would be adequately compensated according to the civil aviation standards.
No fewer than 100 passengers are affected in the delayed luggage saga. Med-View operates a Boing 747 aircraft to London from its base in Lagos.