Hundreds of passengers of the troubled airline, Arik Air, were once again left stranded at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Thursday following the cancelation of the airline’s flight to London’s Heathrow Airport.
Arik Air canceled its London-bound flight due to its inability to purchase aviation fuel. While there is no shortage of aviation fuel in the industry, Arik Air’s supplier refused to sell fuel to the airline due to its debts owed to the supplier.
This development could prevent Arik Air from operating its flights scheduled to depart for New York tonight, a source told SaharaReporters.
Our correspondent who visited the terminal observed that no fewer than 300 passengers who had planned to depart for London were stranded at the airport without any airline employees attending to them.
One of the affected passengers, Adetokunbo, spoke to our correspondent about the flight cancelation and expressed her frustration with the struggling airline.
“Like most passengers, I was not aware of the cancelation of my flight until I got to the airport. One of the staff working at the airline’s counter assured the passengers that the flight was rescheduled for tomorrow [Friday], but I am not sure if that is possible, as the airline already has a flight scheduled for Friday,” Adetokunbo said.
“Arik Air seems to be a disgrace to this country and unfortunately for them, they are not the only carrier flying to the United Kingdom from this country. Why is Med-View not affected by this same so-called fuel scarcity?” she queried.
This development came just one day after an Arik Air staff fought with angry passengers who had just learned that their flight had been canceled. In light of this incident, the Nigeria Police Force deployed officers to the airport to prevent a similar occurrence.
“The reason you are seeing police officers here [MMIA] is to control the crowd,” an officer told our correspondent. “As you are aware, Arik Air today canceled its Lagos-London flight and most of the passengers who had already booked their flights were not aware of this until today.
“The situation did not go down well with them, and some passengers threatened to cause mayhem in the terminal. So in order to prevent such, we were deployed to the terminal.”
Our correspondent further reported that Arik Air’s counters and offices at the terminal were under lock and key.