Disappointed passengers on Wednesday expressed over plans by Emirates to stop flight operations to Abuja, as those based in the federal capital faced the hurdle of coming over to Lagos to board.
Many of those booked on flight EK 784 in Abuja found their way to Lagos at their own expense, although the airline provided logistics by way of Arik Air. An infuriated passenger, who flew into Lagos at his expense, said the federal government ought to have sanctioned the airline for unilaterally suspending flight operations to the capital of a country without thinking about the convenience of passengers who had already made arrangement to travel from Abuja. “It is only in Nigeria this can happen,” he fumed. Another passenger, Mr. John Terso, who also bought his ticket in Abuja, however, appreciated the airlines’ efforts at bringing Abuja passengers to Lagos through Arik Air at their own cost, though he flew to Lagos at his expense. “I decided to foot the cost of coming to Lagos to take my flight as I have something important to do in Dubai, and also because local airlines are not reliable in their schedule,” he said. Another passenger who didn’t want to be named, being a government official, told Vanguard that it was yesterday morning he realised that Emirates would not wait till October 30 to shut Abuja operations. He also came to Lagos to board his flight to Dubai, using another domestic airline, instead of Arik Air arrangement made by Emirates. A visit to the airline’s Reservation and Ticketing office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, revealed that the airline still received airfare from passengers travelling from Nigeria, as they were seen on queue, paying for tickets in Naira, while expatriate passengers were also doing the same. Emirates shut its Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, office ahead of its decision to suspend its four times weekly service between Abuja and Dubai with effect from October 30, 2016