The Ikeja branch of the National Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates Confraternity, has called on the regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to check the excesses of airline operators in the country.
The group decried the increasing rates of flight cancellations or delays without compensating passengers.
The Capoon of the Ikeja branch of NAS (Panama Deck), Mr Godstime Awoze, urged the regulatory agencies, namely the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, to enforce the sanctions on erring airlines so as to bring sanity to the sector.
The statement read, “Flight delays have become regular narratives at the local airports across the country without explanations to passengers who might have incurred financial loss or undergone emotional stress.
“The nation’s leading local operator (name withheld) has become the major culprit as they flagrantly delay or cancel flight schedules. The truth should be told, if airlines are made to compensate passengers for flight delays or cancellation, they will sit up.
“Within a spate of one week, passengers in the Kano, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Owerri, Benin, Asaba, Akure, Ilorin and Enugu airports have either experienced outright flight cancellation or delayed flight schedules for an upward of four hours. This is quite disheartening.”
“At the moment, most air passengers hold the view that they are being taken for granted. Whose fault? The regulatory agencies need to wake up. Today’s problem will continue to expand if not addressed.”
The association also called on the regulatory bodies to monitor the functionality of equipment at the airports, especially during night flights.
It also tasked the regulatory bodies to ensure that basic infrastructure facilities in the airports were functioning.
“The Nigerian aviation industry has been taken 40 years behind compared with their counterparts in other climes. Passengers blame airlines for operational anomalies, but the regulatory authorities also have their blames.
“Some of the multiple flight diversions due to bad weather and aerodrome closure during sunset are as a result of inadequate or non-functional ground navigational equipment such as ground-to-air radar, Instrument Landing System, VHF Omnidirectional Range, among others. The regulatory agencies should wake up to its responsibilities in this regard.
“Only four airports in Nigeria have partially functional navigational ground equipment. They are Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. The rest airports are Visual Flight Rules airports and that is why you cannot land in Owerri, Benin, Asaba, Akure, Ilorin, Enugu, Warri, and the others at sunset,” it added.