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What do these three weird incidents have in common?

February 23, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

An airport runway is invaded by a herd of cows; bandits rob planes awaiting takeoff; an airline strands hundreds of passengers at a London airport and announces it will not fly any more services “until next year”.

The common factor is Nigeria, a country having a few problems with its aviation sector at the moment.

1. The cows.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) has suspended the head of security of Akure Airport following last Saturday’s invasion of the airport’s runway by a herd of cows. The cows delayed the landing of a flight operated by Air Peace, causing consternation among passengers.

Local media say it’s not the first time it has happened.

A witness to the latest drama, Governor Ayodele Fayose of neighbouring Ekiti State, took to Twitter to express his feelings, saying: “Today, while at the Akure Airport to board Air Peace commercial flight to Lagos, I witnessed cows taking over the Airport runway and preventing Aircraft No. 5NBQQ from landing for more than 15 minutes. Thanks to Capt Inyang for saving the lives of the passengers.”

FAAN has apologised to Air Peace and its passengers.


2. Robbery on the runway

Runway robberies have been reported in Nigeria at Akure Airport and elsewhere. African news source Sahara Reporters credits an AfricaWorld pilot for stopping robbers from looting an aircraft preparing for takeoff at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (the biggest airport serving Lagos state).

“The robbing of planes due for takeoff right on the runway has seen a recent increase, the AfricaWorld plane being the latest,” the report said.

The robbers reportedly forced open the cargo door and tried to steal bags belonging to passengers.

The report continues: “The pilot, aware of what was happening, sprayed hot gas on the robbers, scaring them away. The plane had to spend two additional hours on the ground after police anti-bomb squads came in to inspect it.”

Passengers were required to identify their luggage, further delaying the takeoff for Ghana. 


3. Nigerian airline apologises for stranding passengers abroad

Nigeria’s Med-View Airline has apologised after Dubai and London-bound passengers rioted and stormed the carrier’s check-in counter at Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The passengers had been stranded at the airport for several days by flight delays and cancellations.

The airline initially blamed bad weather and technical issues but passengers became suspicious as days passed.

The incident happened over Christmas and the New Year. A Med-View flight returned to London Gatwick because of a technical fault, stranding about 800 passengers in London in the run-up to Christmas. Up to 700 passengers waiting for the return flight to London on Christmas Eve were stranded in the Nigerian city of Lagos.

Passengers rioted, reportedly after being told to “come back next year”.

Med-View organised two relief flights from Gatwick to Lagos a few days after Christmas but a third relief flight ran into problems when a major disturbance broke out.

“Disappointingly, due to the unruly behaviour of some Nigerian passengers, the Border Force had to intervene to support the operations for crowd control purposes,” the airline said, diplomatically.

Early in 2018, the Med-View Airline management issued a statement offering “our unreserved apology to all our esteemed customers/passengers for the inconveniences experienced between December 22 and 27, 2017 due to challenges in our flight operations.

“We cherish your robust patronage over the years, and we will continue to take steps to ensure you enjoy the best services offered in the industry. While wishing you Happy New Year, once again, please accept our apology.”

The airline added that the Lagos-London route and the Lagos-Abuja-Dubai route were now operating as scheduled.

Edited by Peter Needham

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