By Chinedu Eze
There was confusion at the Port Harcourt airport yesterday after Arik Air could not airlift passengers scheduled to travel to Abuja due to the inability of the airline to provide aircraft for the service.
Two flights were scheduled for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from Port Harcourt but after passengers had waited for several hours, Arik Air could only deploy one aircraft to airlift them.
As at 7:49 p.m. boarding was completed on the Boeing B737 aircraft but there were passengers that could not be taken by the flight.
The passengers who were left on ground started protesting against the failure of the airline to airlift them to their destination.
As at press time, Arik Air management and the passengers were yet to resolve the problem.
But THISDAY learnt that three aircraft in the airline’s fleet developed technical problems on Sunday and were suspended from service.
A source from the airline told THISDAY that since Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) took over the management of the airline, it has pruned its services, so what happened was not due to over booking.
“We don’t bite more than we can chew so this kind of thing has never happened to us in a long time.
“When our three aircraft were declared not airworthy and went out of service, we have to use the remaining aircraft to meet our schedule for the day.
“This means that we have to combine flights. Delay became inevitable but we wanted to ensure that we satisfied everyone,” the airline source said.
But the passengers complained that the airline did not inform them of the development until it became very late.