The Ministry of Aviation has regretted diversion of flights to neighbouring countries on account of inclement weather conditions prompted by harmattan haze.
In a statement by Director, Public Affairs, in the ministry Dr. James Odaudu disclosed that the diversions and cancellations were as a result of highly inclement weather conditions that are not peculiar to Lagos or Nigeria, but a global phenomenon.
He explained that even the most developed nations of the world have been experiencing same, resulting from weather vagaries.
Among those that have resumed operations are the Royal Air Maroc, Virgin Atlantic, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, British Airways BAW75, Arik Air from Dubai, ASKY, Allied Air, while virtually all the domestic airlines landed their planes in Lagos.
Domestic arrivals included Allied Air, Air Peace, Arik, Dana, Nest Oil, NAF, Azman, Max Air, Ibom Air.
According to Odaudu, “We also wish to re-establish the fact that the weather conditions in Lagos, and indeed every airport worldwide is not something that is noticed at the point of landing, as pilots are regularly updated during the course of the flights and therefore in a position to decide on the most appropriate airport to divert to”.
Odaudu noted that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja which has been in full operation would have been the most appropriate for the affected airlines to divert to, if the overall interest of the Nigerian passengers was considered.
He assured of government commitment towards ensuring that full services that ensure the comfort, safety and security of air passengers are restored to normalcy, as all relevant authorities have been up and doing.
He expressed Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika’s concerned over the stranding of passengers with the attendant situation they went through.
He assured them of government determination and commitment to the protection of Nigerian travellers at all times.
This year’s Harmattan haze has been described as the worse in recent years. It came with attendant flight cancelations, delays and diversions.
This has cost airlines so much in terms of lodging their passengers in hotels, feeding costs and aeronautics charges by countries in which foreign airlines diverted their flights.