Recently it was gathered that another airline company the Arik Airline threading the familiar path of placing money above the safety of its passengers and if those who regulate things in the aviation industry refuse to act fast on this self-destructive line being towed by the airline, another disaster may be waiting to happen. Investigation revealed that the service of the airline is now at its lowest quality and it is even better to board a passenger bus than to fly Arik Air if one really wants to meet up with an appointment. The airline has caused headache to so many people as its flights have been experiencing over 24 hours’ delay just because it is only one air-craft that services about six different routes.
There have been stories that the airline is actually paying less attention to the local routes as its management seemingly perceives it as not being that lucrative when compared to its international routes and this has resulted in the over-use of its aircraft earmarked for their domestic routes. It is now a common thing that the airline in most cases uses the same plane to move passengers from say Lagos to Port Harcourt and after the return trip the same plane lifts Abuja-bound passengers to and fro, after which it may be assigned to Jos route. It was discovered that despite the fact that the airline company knows the number of passengers the aircraft can lift, it usually sells tickets which in most cases are almost double the seats available thereby leaving the rest stranded.
Another issue is the way its staffers relate with customers; according to a customer, “I have complained to the people at the desk about their attitude to customers. They are very discourteous to customers.” He stated further that he was ten minutes late for a flight to Calabar and was made to buy another ticket to Uyo because he needed to be at Calabar that day to conduct examination, complaining that if the airline delays its flights, it does not compensate passengers but passengers are made to pay when they are late even if it’s for three minutes. He also talked about their behavior:“Arik is the only airline from Lagos to Jos that I know and they do anything they like on that route.”
According to another passenger who said he left Abuja city for the airport to catch a scheduled 7pm Arik Air flight to Lagos, “I got to the airport at 6pm, got my boarding pass, and waited for the boarding announcement. I expected we would depart sometime between 7pm and 8pm. At 7pm, an announcement came that our flight was going to be delayed by two hours. (The 4.40pm flight to Port Harcourt, we learnt, hadn’t left, and this was already well after 7pm; boarding for this didn’t eventually start until about 8pm).” According to him it was no surprise when at 9pm, another announcement came that the would be having a further one hour delay, shifting the time to 10.45pm.
As if that was not enough, he explained that after some time a number of people approached the airline counter to complain. A young woman who said she had a flight to New York, from Lagos (also on Arik Air) was still stranded in Abuja while the airline attendant on duty in their office could not do anything about situation and it was from there those who followed her got to know that the plane that was coming to pick them to Lagos had just left Port Harcourt en route to Abuja, which means it will be impossible for it to get to Abuja earlier than 11.30pm as the time then was about 10:40pm. So it could not leave for Lagos earlier than 12 midnight.
These are the ways the airline operators have been risking the lives of Nigerians and putting them through all sorts of stress just because they want to make money. This is also the reason most Nigerian politicians are fond of spending two days to travel by air to Abuja as they prefer travelling on international flight going to London only to join another one going to Abuja the following day.