The airline’s members of staff at a point abandoned their duty posts as the passengers became uncontrollable.
Arik, like other domestic airlines, has been unable to fly its international passengers to their destinations since Tuesday, December 27, thereby creating a backlog.
The development is coming barely a day after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority sanctioned the airline for violating passengers’ rights and contravening the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.
It was gathered that since Monday, Arik Air had not been able to operate flights to London, New York in the United States and Johannesburg in South Africa.
Passengers lamented that despite the backlog and the inability of the airline’s flights to depart for these destinations, Arik’s officials at the international terminal sold tickets to unsuspecting passengers.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the airline had not airlifted its London-bound passengers, while its Johannesburg passengers were still waiting.
In a reaction, Arik’s spokesperson, Adebanji Ola, said the airline had ferried an aircraft back from the John F. Kennedy Airport to fly its Lagos-New York passengers.
He said that due to the damage to its Boeing A330-200 aircraft by a ground-handling company at the JFK airport a few days ago, the airline had to charter a B767-300ER aircraft from a European charter operator to minimise the disruption and inconvenience to booked passengers on its Lagos-New York service.
He said, “This arrangement was put in place to cover for the period until the return to service of our A330-200 aircraft on December 28, 2016.
“The Lagos-New York flight, which was scheduled to be operated by the charter company and depart Lagos on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 at 11:00am, could not operate due to the closure of the airspace for several hours due to bad weather. Despite the airline’s repeated appeals to the charter operator to operate the next fight, they insisted on positioning their crew and aircraft back to Europe on Wednesday, December 28, 2016.”
He said Arik immediately commenced the ferry back of its A330-200 aircraft from New York to Lagos on Wednesday, and that the aircraft was expected to arrive Lagos today (Thursday).
“Passengers originally booked on Arik Air’s flight W3 107 on Tuesday, December 27, 2016 from Lagos to New York JFK will now be accommodated to travel on Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 06:00am,” Ola added.