South African Airways Passengers in Abuja Stranded for Days


Chinedu Eze
Passengers of South African Airways scheduled to travel to Johannesburg from Abuja have been stranded for four days due to the inability of the airline to airlift them.

Although technical hitches of the operating aircraft was cited as the cause of the failure of the airline to lift the passengers the first day but the travellers were  surprised that after days of waiting, there was no sign they would eventually travel.

THISDAY learnt that the passengers were lodged at Sheraton Abuja Hotel pending when the airline would bring another aircraft to airlift them or put the aircraft in order.

THISDAY also learnt that the operating aircraft picked an object while taxing after landing to airlift the passengers as scheduled, so it has to be grounded.

Confirming the incident, the National President of the Nigeria Travel Agencies, NANTA, Mr. Bankole Bernard, stated that the poor state of Abuja runway damaged the South African aircraft.

He urged the management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to rehabilitate the runway before a major incident or accident would happen.

But FAAN’s sources said rehabilitation work is expected to start at the airport after the contractor has finalised agreement with the agency.

THISDAY however gathered that the passengers have rejected the pleas by the airline to airlift them to Lagos where they would join the Lagos-Johannesburg flight.
An airport official said the problem was exacerbated by the shortage of aviation fuel in Abuja.