How Airlines Lose ₦15bn To Unruly Passengers Yearly — Onyema

Nigerian airlines lose at least ₦15 billion every year due to bad behaviors of passengers, which avoidably lead to flight delays and cancellations, the Chairman of Air Peace, Dr. Allen Onyema has claimed. 

Onyema bemoaned the fact that unruly passenger conduct is the primary reason for flight delays in the nation and has caused the airlines to suffer enormous financial losses.

Onyema, quoting the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), said airlines contribute little to the cause of flight delays, but said in Nigeria, in addition to weather, VIP movement and tech (Aircraft on Ground (AOG), passenger behaviour were major causes of delays and canceled flights.

He stressed that an average Nigerian traveller had not embraced the culture of rescheduling when flights are canceled, a policy that follows international standards and recommended practices.

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He said the insistence of passengers whose flights are canceled to be airlifted first the following day gives rise to disruption of flights, which snowballs into weeks of delays and cancellations.

Onyema explained that airlines schedule the number of flights that must be operated by each aircraft, but when a previous flight is canceled, passengers’ insistence that they must be airlifted first before the airline operates its normal schedule, disrupts flight operations.

He emphasised that industry standard stipulates that when a flight is canceled, passengers of such flights are to wait for the rescheduling of their flights in accordance to the existing airline schedule, but noted that the reverse was the case in Nigeria.

He declared that the insistence of passengers of delayed or canceled flights to be airlifted immediately would lead to disruptive flights for operators. He said: “Let me tell you why delays and cancellations will persist in this country.

“Number one, apart from safety, apart from security, apart from weather and other issues, is unruly passenger behaviour, a misunderstanding of how airlines’ scheduled operations are supposed to be run, is major cause of flight delays.

“When weather is the cause of the delay or leads to cancellation at the end of the day, it is not the business of the airline to fly the passenger whose flight was canceled first thing the next morning, no. All over the world, aviation is the same worldwide.

“The convention is, the passenger is expected to reschedule to the next available date. That is how it is done. “In Nigeria, you want to fly, and you have three hours delay because of weather. And the time weather clears, you want to go in, and there is airport closure, because most of the airport don’t run at night.

“And the passenger will tell you, even though you put us in hotel, we will be the first ones to fly in the morning. It is not done like that, you reschedule to the next available date, because it is called scheduled flight operations.”

Onyema emphasised that an aircraft in Nigeria has about six to eight flights a day, stressing that any delay would disrupt the schedules. For instance, he recalled that a few days ago when the airline flew into Warri, it encountered bad weather, which prevented its aircraft to land, while the pilot had to hover for about 15 minutes.

He said when the weather situation did not improve, the pilot diverted the flight to Enugu because Benin airport was also covered by bad weather.

He lamented that after about two hours in Enugu, the weather situation improved, but the aircraft could not land in Warri airport again as it was shut due to its sunset airport nature. He added: “The pilot announced the closure of the airport because it is a sunset airport and said that the flight would return to base, which is Abuja.

Africa Today News, New York

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