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Flight delays, cancellations: Airlines need to plan for the unexpected

AFTER the over 6,600 flight delays recorded for September and October, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is advising airlines especially domestic operators to make certain allowances when putting their equipment (aircraft) into operation.

Captain Abdullahi Sidi, the Acting Director General of the NCAA gave this advice against the backdrop of intention by the operator when it crosses with reality of the situation and the sad consequences that arise from both.

He said that most operators who have aircraft put all their aircraft into service maximally to get the highest returns but all that doesn’t work according to plan the minute any of those aircraft develops a snag or fault.

He said, “Flight delays, if you look at what is happening in this country, there are more airlines compared to 2015. We have our own challenges, an airline has four aircraft, they schedule these four aircraft to operate toe to toe, maximally. Now, I have four airplanes operating maximally, passengers have booked tickets waiting to depart, all of a sudden one out of those four aircraft develops a fault, it’s going to affect the schedule. So this is what is happening that we are having such delays.

“Plus, the fact that in Nigeria we have some challenges with planning, sometimes more so, I don’t know how the operators are going to feel. Sometimes they are selfish, why put four airplanes maxim operation when anything can happen? Sometimes somethings happen, have a plan that you can put in place to alleviate the sufferings of the passengers

He also attributed the current high flight delays in the sector to influx of more air passengers, establishment of more airlines, insufficient aircraft among operators, poor weather and inadequate equipment at most of the airports across the country.

“Also, we have issue due to bad weather – there are two types of bad weather; the harmattan, which we are already entering and we are trying to take care of that. The approach equipment has been upgraded seriously to even allow airplane to land in zero weather condition. We have category III Instrument Landing System (ILS). We have this in Lagos and Abuja. Other airports are Category II ILS. The only one you can’t do anything about is heavy rain.

“But, thank God, most heavy rains in tropical zones don’t last for more than 45 minutes. So, you wait to get the weather report to depart to your weather of destination. Delays will happen when they have to happen.”

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Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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