Arik Air, Passengers in Shouting Bout over Flight Disruption

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By Okon Bassey

There was confusion at the Ibom International Airport last Tuesday when the management of Arik Air reportedly engaged passengers in a shouting bout that could have resulted in physical combat following a delayed flight.

Thisday gathered that the flight initially scheduled to take off to Abuja at 11.45am was delayed until about 9.30pm without any explanation to the passengers by the management.

Sources said the passengers that had arrived the airport about 9.30am to join the Arik Air flight that was scheduled to take off at 11.45am were surprised when there was an announcement that the flight was stood down after their tickets were checked.

The manager of the Arik Air was said to have disappeared when some of the passengers approached the office at the airport to seek clarification of the development.

 Trouble was said to have started when the manager eventually emerged and when confronted by the passengers  decided to fume and started cursing the passengers and, with the support of the staff, threatened to engage their passengers in physical fight.

One of the passengers, former Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Dipo Fasina, was said to have strongly berated the action of the Arik manager at Ibom Airport.

He expressed dismay that instead of the manager to have carefully, patiently and humbly explained the state of affairs to the passengers, decided to flare up to fight the frustrated passengers with his workers.

“They really wanted to fight. I think the normal thing was for the proprietors and their representatives to apologise.

“The manager was feeling some self-righteousness without really trying to explain anything to the passengers. He lost his temper which I think he ought not to have done.

“They were the ones who sold the tickets; they could not deliver what they got the money for.

“So, it took a lot of restraint on the people who are with us here not to engage them in a fight.

“The situation is even worse than this; we don’t know what would happen next. They told us that a plane was coming from Lagos and would be going to Abuja, but it was not supposed to go to Abuja straight without coming through here.

“There is nobody who is sure of anything but the manager didn’t do what he was supposed to do to explain carefully, patiently, and humbly to the people who paid their money for the flight,” he maintained.