The serene atmosphere of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos degenerated into chaos on Wednesday evening, as the German airline, Lufthansa, cancelled its flight abruptly.

The airline also dragged its feet in its decision to accommodate stranded passengers in a hotel, as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and some of the passengers had to depart the airport in annoyance.

The passengers, numbering more than 300, who had come to the airport to catch the late night flight out of Lagos to Frankfurt, Germany and other destinations were taken aback when it was discovered that the flight had been cancelled.

Some of them with children lamented that they were not notified of the cancellation of the flight.

At the time of filing this report, the reason for the cancellation could not be ascertained, but a source close to the airline attributed it to “technical failure".

The remaining passengers insisted they had nowhere else to spend the night, and had to be booked into a hotel with the promise that they would board their flights on Thursday.

One of the affected passengers, who gave her name as Mrs. Lateefat Abdulateef, claimed that the airline did not inform them prior to the cancellation.

She also alleged that the counter staff of the airline did not provide the passengers with any information on the cancelled flight, adding that before some of them could be put in a hotel, they had to protest their poor treatment by the airline, while others who resided in Lagos or could get cheap hotel accommodation, had to leave in annoyance.

Lamenting the situation, Abdulateef said: “The way and manner some of these foreign airlines treat Nigerians is unfathomable. We were here with the plan to leave Nigeria to various destinations, but to our surprise, we could not depart as planned. It was late at night that we discovered we won’t be travelling as scheduled. This can happen to anyone, especially if it is has to do with safety, but the annoyance of everyone was that the airline refused to provide hotel accommodation for the passengers.

“Some of us had to leave angrily, while others were prepared to spend the night at the airport, but early this morning, the few remaining passengers were booked into a hotel. Till now, no one has told us why we did not fly yesterday and we have the fear that there might be a spillover as those expected to travel today will also come to the airport.”

Lufthansa operates daily flights from Frankfurt to Lagos. It is not clear if the stranded passengers would be airlifted today.

Attempts to get the officials of the airline to comment proved abortive as our correspondent was referred to its headquarters in Germany.

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