… Stakeholders, passengers lament, calls for probe
From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The Nigeria aviation industry was greeted with a huge disappointment yesterday with the announcement by Medview Airlines that it can no longer operate the Lagos-Abuja-Dubai route as a result of the current impasse the airline is battling to resolve with it Euro Atlantic partners over aircraft lease for use on it international destinations.
This announcement is coming barely 54 days after the airline commenced flight into Dubai on December 7 2017, the flight was greeted with huge celebrations in Lagos, Abuja and Dubai with the Nigerian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr. Mohammed Remi joining the celebration in Dubai.
The announcement was greeted with disappointment by stakeholders and passengers who had been waiting for the airline to airlift them to Dubai for about a week now after the airline initially cancelled their flight, most of the passengers who besieged the airline counters at Lagos airport describe the action as fraudulent and call for a probe of the airline.
At a briefing in Lagos, Managing Director of Medview, Alhaji Muneer Bankole told journalists the Dubai operations remains suspended till March to allow it sought out other pressing challenges it is facing in Europe.
He “ said it is imperative to say that we have issues with our European partners over aircraft we leased from them, from all indications, this aircraft has not meet our requirement in providing the neccessary capacity”
“… We have shut down Dubai operation till March when our own B767-300ER returns from refurbishment in the UK. Passengers who have booked with us will be flown to their destination via interline agreement”.
Also, he said airline is not indebted to the authorities at Gatwick, United Kingdom, saying it has recently paid over 1.45 million pounds, adding that it has also acknowledged that it will pay another 34,000 pounds paid for hotel accommodation for passengers, on behalf of the airline.
The Nigerian Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Mr. Mohammed Remi at the reception to welcome the airline last December had warned Medview not to disappoint it passengers nor abandoned them at anytime.
Some stakeholders who spoke to our Correspondent in Lagos said the airline is biting more than it can chew by simultaneously embarking on flight operations into West Africa countries, Saudi Arabai, London and Dubai without getting it economics right.
Members of the Aviation Round Table, a think tank group in the industry had forewarned the airline of such eventuality should it decide to operate as a single entity rather than represent Nigeria as a flag carrier in the route and countries it flies into.
A passenger who spoke to our reporter anonymously yesterday said the action of the airline is a disservice to the country and it citizens affirming that it will lower the rating of any Nigeria carrier in the wider world.
Some call for the probe of activities of the airline and Ministry of Aviation officials who ensure Medview got the nod to operate into it trouble routes without doing the necessary background checks to ensure it does not bring the name of the country into disrepute.