An unbelievable drama played out at the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Tuesday when passengers lined up inside the terminal to fly a phantom airline that had not completed its approval neither was it listed at the arrival or departure screen.
The drama happened at around 1.30pm and Nigerianflightdeck.com learnt that tickets were already sold and the passengers were waiting however, somehow they got wind that the airline, Meridiana was no longer coming and soon they became agitated.
Authorities could not resolve the mystery of Meridiana as calls were made the the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) headquarters where all those in charge of facilitation and consumer protection could not say where the airline was from as they did not have them on their documents.
Nigerianflightdeck dug further and learnt that the airline, an Italian carrier meant to fill in the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) left open by Alitalia was still processing its authorization to fly into the country yet had passengers waiting to board and fly from the MMIA on Tuesday.
The Spokesman to the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye who responded to a message sent by our reporter confirmed this in his response, “It is the Italian government that designated Air Meridiana as the official carrier of Italy to Nigeria in place of Alitalia. This is done under the existing BASA between both countries.”
“The process for commencement of operations is on. So it couldn’t have been selling tickets for operations, be assured that NCAA cannot do any back door business.”
However, there were numerous passengers at the MMIA on Tuesday, visibly disgruntled that the flight they had booked and paid for did not arrive and even airport officials too were perplexed by the entire situation.
Nigerianflightdeck also sent messages to the Ministry to know who authorized the airline to sell its tickets to Nigerians when processes were not complete but as at the time of posting this report, our medium has not heard from the Ministry to confirm or deny if they have given any approvals.
It’s only in Nigeria… I don’t really blame those who already bought their tickets, the tickets must have been very affordable. Tony have you tried to buy ticket for international flight recently? The fares are ridiculously expensive. Meridiana should quickly complete the formalities and start. Nigerians need them NOW.
Comedy of errors. There is no airport in the world where illegal company would have a kiosk to sell tickets to passengers without knowledge of airport authorities. I don’t believe it happened in Nigeria because NCAA must have designated the kiosk, which makes what the company did to be within the confines of law