Passengers Stranded at NAIA as Bad Weather Disrupts Flights

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Ndubuis Francis in Abuja

Hundreds of passengers were on Thursday stranded for long hours at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja as airlines battled to operate under harsh weather conditions.

It was a harvest of delayed departures in a few cases, cancellations and endless rescheduling of flights as bad weather took its toll on already scheduled flights.

The departure lounge of the Abuja airport was overflowing with frustrated passengers who thronged the facility preparatory to connecting their respective destinations only to be confronted with disappointment.

One of the most affected destinations was Kano. Neither an Aero Contractors flight scheduled for take-off by 10.30am nor a Max Air billed to depart Abuja at 12.30pm could operate as at the 5pm.

Aero passengers were already at the apron for boarding when they were told that it was not possible to fly due to bad weather in Kano.

The obviously frustrated passengers returned to the departure hall for an endless wait.

Officials of Max Air were to also send text messages at about 4pm to passengers earlier billed for a 12.30pm flight, that the flight had been rescheduled for 8:50pm.

A few minutes later, the rescheduled flight time was again changed to 9:20pm.

However, some passengers who were lucky were able to connect to their destinations in Lagos, Owerri, Ilorin, Sokoto and Yola, among others.

While flight delays and rescheduling were announced endlessly through the public address system, neither officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) nor the affected airlines offered any kind of succour to the stranded passengers, most of whom stood for hours in the over-crowded hall.