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800 Med-View Airline passengers stranded at London Gatwick

 

Up to 800 passengers have been stranded at Gatwick Airport for five days after an airline cancelled its flights.

Many of the travellers, who were due to travel to Lagos with Nigerian airline Med-View, have been sleeping on the floor since Friday, and may not get a flight until the new year.

Med-View blamed technical problems which are said to have put one of its three planes out of action.

The airline also claimed it arranged for three planes to evacuate at least 700 people on Wednesday but one of these had to be cancelled after passengers became unruly.

But furious customers, some of whom paid more than £1,000 for a ticket, accused the company of ‘abandoning’ them.

Ola Dami, 26, from Coventry, said he missed Christmas with his family in Lagos because of the chaos.

She told The Sun: ‘I feel abandoned and disrespected. I’ve been told there will be no flights until next year.’

Police were called to the South Terminal to maintain control amid angry scenes.

One Twitter user, ‘Georgina’, filmed a confrontation between a customer and a member of staff.

‘If you listen well, you will hear a customer say “don’t tell me not to shout or I will shout,’ she wrote.

Another witness saw a woman appealing to a member of staff to help her mother get home for Christmas after she was discharged from hospital in the UK.

One passenger feared she was going to miss her sister’s wedding because of flight cancellations.

She wrote on Twitter: ‘Why can’t you f***ing provide an alternative for people, it’s been 4 days now and we all just here with no refunds no words from you, no assurance nothing!!!!

‘I’m supposed to be my sister’s maid of honour and these people are ruining everything.’

Gatwick Airport said: ‘Due to a lack of available aircraft, a significant number of Med-view passengers have not flown out as expected and are currently still at the airport. Gatwick would like to apologise on the airline’s behalf.

‘Airport staff are also assisting these passengers where possible and will continue to work with the airline and other authorities to ensure that Medview honours its commitments to their passengers.

Passengers have also been left stranded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

In a statement, posted on December 24, the airline said: ‘We sincerely apologize for all the recent flight disruptions.

‘We are currently doing everything possible to get back on schedule.’

Arik Air passengers stranded as cabin crew down tools

Hundreds of Arik Air passengers were stranded on Friday morning at various airports across the country following an unannounced strike by the cabin crew.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the worst hit is Abuja and Lagos passengers where Arik has its major customers.

NAN learnt that the cabin crew commenced the strike Friday morning without prior notice over what they termed “non increment of their salaries and allowances.”

Several passengers were seen milling around terminal B of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where Arik Air operates from.

NAN also observed that some other airlines took advantage of the situation to sell tickets to the stranded passengers at exorbitant rates ranging from N40,000 to N50,000 for the Abuja to Lagos route.

NAN reports that members of staff of Arik Air were seen explaining to passengers and appealing to them to remain calm as the airline management negotiated with the striking workers.

A source at the airline told NAN the airline announced a two-hour delay on all its flights.

He said the airline believed that negotiation with the aggrieved crew members could be concluded in two hours, adding that if the negotiation lingered, more delays would happen.

He explained that the crew members were demanding for allowances that hitherto applied when Arik Air operated long haul routes like New York, London and Johannesburg.

According to him, when those flights where happening, a crew member could accumulate between 100 and 120 flying hours which came with special bonuses and they also enjoyed special allowances.

“For instance, the New York flight attracted 100 dollars allowance per night while the London flight attracted 60 pounds per night, multiply by the number of nights spent abroad.

“The crew members are still demanding for same working conditions as before which may not be possible as they also do not work as before.

“The current Arik Air management introduced an attractive working condition for staff you can’t find in the industry.

“For instance, the staff received their December salary on the 20th, a feat that has never happened before,” the source said.

The official also said that Arik had one of the best health insurance in the industry, saying that its health insurance scheme allowed each staff to register as high as 10 dependants. (NAN)

Arik Air resumes flights from Abuja to Calabar, Uyo

Arik Air on Tuesday announced that it was resuming flight operations on the Abuja-Calabar and Abuja-Uyo routes from December 15.

Its Communications Manager, Mr Ola Adebanji, disclosed this in Lagos in a statement.

Adebanji said the airline was increasing its capacity ahead of Christmas and New Year celebrations to enable customers celebrate the season with their families and friends.

He said: “The capacity increase which will boost our key domestic routes, especially in the South East and South-South zones, takes effect from December 15 to run through January 14, 2018.

“The main highlights of the new schedule are the resumption of Abuja to Calabar and Abuja to Uyo routes which were suspended earlier in the year.

“Arik Air will be flying daily from Abuja to Uyo and five times a week from Abuja to Calabar.

“Similarly, the airline has increased its frequencies between Lagos to Calabar, Lagos to Uyo, Lagos to Enugu, Lagos to Owerri, Abuja to Enugu to daily flights.

“It will operate the Lagos to Asaba route five times weekly during the period.”

According to him, customers that want to fly Arik Air on the Lagos-Port Harcourt route now have an early morning ( 7 a.m. ) departure from Port Harcourt and late evening ( 5 p.m. ) flight from Lagos.

Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, said the airline came up with the new schedules because of its love for its intending passengers.

He said that Arik Air was aware that many Nigerians would like to seize the opportunity it offered to celebrate the Yuletide with their loved ones across the country.

“As a caring airline, we have put measures in place to fly customers to their respective destinations during this festive season,” he said.

NAN

Three flights delayed every hour by Nigerian airlines between July and September

 

Domestic airlines operating in Nigeria delayed an average 89 flights daily between July and September 2017, according to official figures.

This implies that at least three flights were delayed every hour by domestic airlines every day for those three months.

The airlines recorded 8,173 cases of delayed flights between July and September this year.

The information is contained in a report released by the Consumer Protection Unit of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in Ikeja on Wednesday.

The report showed that 13,255 flights were operated by eight airlines during the period with 96 flights cancelled by the airlines for various reasons.

It listed the airlines involved in the flight operations as Aero Contractors, Arik Air, Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, First Nation, Med-View and Overland Airways.

The report said that Air Peace, which operated 3,811 flights, topped the chart of delayed flights with 2,166 and five cancelled flights.

According to the report, Arik Air follows with 2,057 delayed flights and 32 cancellations out of its 3,285 flight services in the period.

The report said that Dana Air operated 1,762 flights with 1,079 cases of delayed flights and five cancellations.

Med-View Airline recorded 986 and seven delayed and cancelled flights, respectively out of the 1,394 flights operated by the airline during the period.

Azman Air operated 1,127 flights with 712 delayed and 16 cancellations, while Overland operated 542 flights with 391 delayed and seven cancellations.

First Nation Airways had 239 flights with 98 delayed and three cancellations.

The airlines blamed the delays and cancellations on operational reasons, high cost of aviation fuel and inadequate navigational aids at many airports in the country.
(NAN)

Med-View begins Dubai flights December 7

Med-view Airline will on December 7 begin scheduled flight operations to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from Lagos via Abuja, its Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Muneer Bankole, said on Sunday in Lagos.

Bankole told newsmen that the airline was grateful to the Ministry of Aviation, government parastatal agencies, travel agencies and passengers who keyed into its inaugural flight.

He assured them that the carrier was committed to dedicated service on the route.

He said the airline package for tourists to Dubai include air fare, visa, accommodation and tour guides at reasonable rates.

He added that there were various packages for traders and business travellers.

According to him, economy passengers will enjoy a two-piece baggage allowance of 25 kg each, while Business Class will have three-piece baggage.

He explained that activities lined up for the inaugural flight included a brief ceremony at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and a dinner with business and diplomatic communities in Dubai.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline has three weekly flights from Lagos via Abuja to Dubai on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays with outbound departure at 1.45 p.m.

(NAN)

Aero assures disengaged workers of payment of N1.9bn entitlements

Aero Contractors Nigeria Limited has assured no fewer than 600 employees disengaged by the airline in March of the payment of their N1.9 billion entitlements.

The Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Capt. Ado Sanusi, gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.Sanusi explained that the decision to declare the affected workers, which constituted nearly 60 per cent of Aero’s workforce redundant, was taken in the airline’s best interest.

The Aero boss said the airline had about 1,300 employees and one or two aircraft in operation when he assumed office in February.“We are very happy and glad to say we have increased our aircraft to three and had gotten approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to carry out C-Check on series of Boeing 737 aircraft.

“It took us almost eight months to do that and we have the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility functioning very well.

“We have been able to recall 120 of the workers on contract basis but as the demand for the facility continues to increase, we hope to engage them permanently.

“We have also paid about N300 million out of the N2.2 billion to the disengaged workers and have reduced the backlog of staff salaries from seven to four months.

“So, as we get more funds, especially from the MRO facility, we hope to pay all those not recalled or has resigned their entitlements,” he said.

Sanusi commended the unions in the sector for their maturity in handling the situation, stressing that they had shown commitment to the survival of the airline.

He also lauded the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) for the support being given to the airline, especially with regards to attracting core investors.

Sanusi said: “We have looked at a long-term plan for Aero and AMCON has agreed that there must be fleet renewal between five to 25 years.

“The aircraft that we have now will have to be retired within three to five years. We have started talking to investors. We started with 19 interested parties and we are now down to six investors.

According to him, the MRO facility has been very beneficial to airlines operating in Nigeria and West Africa particularly in the reduction of maintenance cost hitherto done outside the continent.

He added that Aero was partnering with South Africa Technik, AJ Walters of the United Kingdom and Ethiopian Maintenance Organisation to ensure that the services of the facility were in line with international standards

Dana Air gets IATA membership certificate

Dana Air has received its membership certificate from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The airline has however, assured its passengers of its commitment to continue to raise the bar of its operational efficiency with an airline model that guarantees sustainability and professionalism in Nigeria’s aviation industry.

The Accountable Manager of Dana Air, Mr Obi Mbanuzuo made this known blast week during the official presentation of the membership certificate of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to DANA Air in Lagos.

He said the airline will continue to maintain global best practices in the aviation industry while still churning out world-class initiatives to exceed the flying aspirations of its ever-increasing membership of the airlines’ loyalty program –Dana Miles.

He said: “Since becoming an IATA member, we have received a barrage of requests for interline and code-share agreements and we can’t wait to take our unrivaled services in Nigeria to the global stage.

Dana Air remains uncompromising in its commitment to maintaining global best practices and as always, we will continue to churn out world-class initiatives to meet and exceed the flying aspirations of our teeming passengers .’’

On the airlines’ fleet and route expansion plans, Obi said ‘’our decisions are strategic and is very difficult to forecast in this part of the world, but I can confirm to you that we have commenced talks with some notable aircraft manufacturers and we should increase our fleet in no distant time. Even with our current capacity, we are doing very well and have a strategy to meet the demands of the flying public.’’

Obi said :” We are very confident of our model as presently we are the only Nigerian carrier to have undergone an operational audit conducted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and its foreign partners, The Flight Safety Group. We also scaled the IATA Operational Safety Audit IOSA and we wish to assure our guests that we are not resting on our oars as commitment to professionalism is unwavering’’

Also speaking at the event, IATA’s Area Manager, South-West, Dr Samson Fatokun, said not all airlines are members of IATA as a result of its stringent admission process but commended Dana Air for making the list and joining over 300 airlines presently on the association’s registry.

“We have requirements for any airline that wants to join the to the IATA family and one of that requirement is that they must pass the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and this has kept most of them back. IATA comes with a requirement of quality and people expect the airline to operate with recommended standards of aviation globally. We commend Dana Air for this feat and hope that they will keep up the good work’’

 

Qatar Airways makes emergency landing after woman fights husband on plane

 

A Qatar Airways aircraft was forced to make emergency landing at India’s Chennai Airport en-route Bali from Doha when a female passenger attacked her husband over allegations of infidelity.

The enraged woman, an Iranian, forced the airliner to make the emergency landing after she discovered mid-flight that her husband was allegedly cheating on her.

The Hindustan Times reports om Tuesday that the woman was travelling from Doha to Bali with her husband and child on a Qatar Airways flight QR-962 on Sunday.

The report revealed that as the husband slept, the woman used his hand to unlock his fingerprint-protected phone, revealing the alleged affair.

Subsequently, the woman, angered by the discovery, reportedly started to hit her husband.

When the cabin crew tried to intervene in the ensuing fracas, the report said they were unable to calm the situation.

With the inflight episode spiralling out of control, the pilots decided to make an unscheduled stop in the southern Indian city of Chennai, report said.

The woman, her husband and their child were taken off the plane, which then resumed its journey to Indonesia, an unnamed security official told the Hindustan Times.

“The family spent the day at Chennai airport and was sent to Kuala Lumpur by a Batik Air flight. No police action was taken,” the official reportedly said.

“In respect of passenger privacy we do not comment on individual cases,” a Qatar Airways spokesperson told the Hindustan Times when the paper sent in enquiry requesting further details on the development.

 

Emirates resumes Abuja flights one year after suspension

Hadi Sirika, minister of state for aviation, says Emirates Airline will resume its flight operations to Abuja on December 15.

The minister made this known via his Twitter account.

“Glad to inform that Emirates will recommence Abuja flight on the 15th of December, 2017. Thanks for bearing with us,” he wrote.

The airline, alongside some other foreign airlines, had suspended flight operations in 2016 during a period of forex scarcity.

The company had complained about the difficulty in recovering its tickets in dollars and how it would affect its financial statements.

“In certain African countries, the currencies have really gone down, so we’re reflecting on a number of these to look at where it’s just not worth us travelling,” Tim Clark, Emirates president had said in 2016.

“We have major differences, being dollar-denominated, in what we collect and what we represent in our financial statements.”

During the same period, airlines had also complained about the scarcity of aviation fuel, which led to delays and cancellation of some flights, and the bad runway at the Abuja airport.

The federal government had since repaired the runway at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.

110,000 passengers stranded as Monarch Airlines collapses

 

The UK’s biggest peacetime repatriation is under way after the collapse of Monarch Airlines, with 110,000 customers to be brought home on specially chartered planes and a further 750,000 told that their bookings have been cancelled.

The 4am announcement that Britain’s longest-surviving airline brand had been placed into administration meant many passengers arrived at airports on Monday morning, only to find their flights cancelled and holiday plans in tatters. Some were informed just minutes before they were due to board planes.

About 2,100 Monarch employees face losing their jobs. Administrators and unions said they hoped many could be taken on by other airlines that are interested in buying up parts of Monarch’s business.

The CAA chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “This is the biggest UK airline ever to cease trading, so the government has asked the CAA to support Monarch customers currently abroad to get back to the UK at the end of their holiday at no extra cost to them.

“We are putting together, at very short notice and for a period of two weeks, what is effectively one of the UK’s largest airlines to manage this task. We ask customers to bear with us as we work around the clock to bring everyone home.”

Haines said the CAA had been putting together contingency plans over the last four and a half weeks, but only had a “clear indication” that Monarch was about to go into administration late on Saturday night.

Customers affected by the company’s collapse were urged to check the dedicated website monarch.caa.co.uk for advice and information on flights back to the UK. The CAA said passengers would be brought home on flights as close as possible to their original times, dates and destination, but some consolidation, disruption and delay was inevitable.

Most are due to travel through Spanish airports, with 32,000 set to return this week from Spain and its islands, including more than 6,000 from Alicante and Malaga, and almost 5,300 from Palma Mallorca and 4,400 from Tenerife. Nearly 10,000 people will be flown back by Friday from Portugal, the majority from Faro.
But passengers yet to travel could could be hit harder. Haines said it was a “very mixed picture” for the 300,000 outstanding bookings, affecting a total of 750,000 customers due to leave the UK in the coming weeks and months.

He said close to 50% of Monarch passengers were believed to have some form of Atol protection, and Haines said most of the others should receive refunds on their flights through credit or debit card providers. However, customers who booked accommodation separately may struggle to reclaim their other holiday costs, with many travel insurers excluding airline failure from their policies.

Commenting on the “extraordinary operation”, the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “This is a hugely distressing situation for British holidaymakers abroad – and my first priority is to help them get back to the UK. That is why I have immediately ordered the country’s biggest ever peacetime repatriation to fly about 110,000 passengers who could otherwise have been left stranded abroad.

“Nobody should underestimate the size of the challenge, so I ask passengers to be patient and act on the advice given by the CAA.”

The taxpayer will meet the initial cost of the repatriation, although the government hopes to recoup much of that sum from the Atol protection scheme and credit card payment companies.

Asked whether passengers should have been notified earlier over the problems – with flights still on sale at the weekend – a Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This was a decision made by the company and it is the job of directors and their advisors to decide when a business is no longer a going concern … It is the not the role of government to decide on the viability of a business.”

Monarch, whose headquarters are at London Luton airport, was founded in 1968. It operates from four other UK bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds Bradford – travelling to more than 40 destinations around the world.

The company employs about 2,750 predominantly UK-based staff, and all but about 600 people working in its engineering division, MAEL, will be affected. Monarch said it would work with the administrators and the unions Balpa and Unite to help its employees find new jobs as quickly as possible.

Unite accused the government of “sitting on its hands” while Monarch went bust. The union said potential investors and buyers were deterred by the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit and whether British airlines could continue flights around Europe.

Unite claimed that ministers had rebuffed requests by Monarch for a bridging loan of the kind the German government recently gave to prop up Air Berlin. A government spokesman said that it had been in discussions, but Monarch itself had concluded that a loan would not help it avert administration.

Monarch enjoyed a good reputation for customer service but its long-term future rarely looked assured. In 2014, its Swiss family owners sold the company to the investment firm Greybull Capital, a deal that resulted in airline staff being forced to agree to pay cuts.

Greybull said the airline had been “buffeted by factors outside of its control”. Terrorism and the collapse of the pound after the Brexit vote were the two main factors, it said.

Two of Monarch’s biggest markets, in Egypt and Tunisia, were closed to tourists after terrorist attacks. The Foreign Office advised against travel to Tunisia and Egypt’s Red Sea resorts after the shooting in Sousse and the bombing of a Russian airliner in 2015, stopping charter flights from the UK.

Unrest in Turkey also badly affected Monarch’s holiday business. A resulting flood of seats across airlines to its core business in Spain and Portugal meant cheaper fares, which were unsustainable for Monarch.

The fall of the pound left Monarch paying £50m a year more for fuel and aircraft, purchased in dollars.

In a letter to staff, its chief executive, Andrew Swaffield, said the airline was carrying 14% more passengers than last year for £100m less revenue. He said the “root causes” of its declining revenue were terror attacks in Egypt and Tunisia and the decline of its Turkey business.