ACCORDING to Arik Air, due to the damage to its A330-200 aircraft (registration 5N-JIC) by a ground handling company at JFK International Airport, New York, USA a few days ago, the airline had to invest in chartering a B767-300ER aircraft from a European charter operator to minimize the disruption and inconvenience to booked passengers on its Lagos-New York JFK service.
The airline said the arrangement was put in place to cover for the period until the return to service of its A330-200 aircraft on 28 December, 2016.
A statement by the airline read,” 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 Lagos airspace for several hours due to bad weather (poor visibility). Despite the airline’s repeated appeals to the charter operator to operate the next flight, they insisted on positioning their crew and aircraft back to Europe on Wednesday, December 28, 2016.”
“Arik Air immediately commenced the ferry back of its A330-200 aircraft from New York to Lagos on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 and this aircraft is expected to arrive Lagos on Thursday, 29 December 2016 at 02:45am. Passengers originally booked on Arik Air’s flight W3 107 on Tuesday, 27 December 2016 from Lagos to New York JFK will now be accommodated to travel on Thursday, December 29, 2016 at 06:00am.”
“While these negotiations were on with the charter operator and Arik Air was reviewing available alternate options, unfortunately, some of the New York bound passengers on Wednesday, 28 December 2016 prevented the airline from checking in passengers booked for other destinations resulting in significant delays and cancellations of some flights. “
“These passengers also delayed the check-in of Lagos-London Heathrow flight of Wednesday, 28 December 2016 despite making them aware that London Heathrow airport enforces a night curfew and the consequential impact on other passengers of such unlawful disruptions. No assistance was available from the Aviation Security (AVSEC) department of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to contain the disruptive passengers and ensure they act in an orderly and civilized manner.”
“Arik Air appeals for the understanding of passengers booked on the Lagos-New York service and assures regular operations will be normalized from Thursday, 29 December 2016.”