Passengers shut Arik’s operations over luggage delay

Ebun Francis

Arik Air’s check-in counter at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was on Tuesday shut down by international passengers protesting the airlines failure to deliver their luggage days after they arrived from London. The situation was compounded on Monday when most of the passengers who arrived from London could also not have access to their luggage.

The crisis at the counter and the subsequent disruption of services led to the eventual cancellation of Lagos to London Tuesday flight scheduled for noon.

Reacting to the development, Mr. Adebanji Ola, Arik’s spokesman in a statement while confirming the incident explained that over the past days, the airline had been using a smaller aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, to operate the Lagos-London Heathrow route due to maintenance on the wide-bodied A330-200 aircraft allocated to the route.

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According to him, “One of the airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft was hit by a handling company at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York on Thursday, December 1, 2016 consequently triggering the B737-800 to be deployed on the Lagos-London route.

“In order to avoid cancellation of the Lagos-London Heathrow flights, an alternative B737-800 aircraft had to be allocated on the route to minimise the inconvenience to booked passengers. The airline was constrained in capacity from a wide-body A330-200 aircraft to a narrow-body B737-800 aircraft and thus had to leave some of the passengers’ luggage behind in London.

“Passengers were, however, duly informed of this capacity restriction at the check-in desk at the London Heathrow Airport and were advised of the possibility that some of their luggage will have to be sent on subsequent flights as per space availability.”

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The Airline spokesman further explained that due to capacity restrictions on the smaller B737-800 aircraft, the airline had to drop some of the luggage in order to accommodate the maximum number of passengers.

“To this end, an extra aircraft was also operated to London Heathrow on Sunday, December 4, 2016 to accommodate all passengers and some outstanding luggage.” the statement concluded.