Azman Air, one of the domestic airlines in the country today allegedly abandoned hundreds of scheduled passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, who were bound for Abuja to operate Charter flight.
This, AbelNews learnt led to abrupt cancellation of its morning flight to Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport (NAA), Abuja.
While many of the passengers alleged that they were not informed of the cancellation by the airline, others said they got information about the cancellation late Sunday night.
A travel agent who was affected by the cancellation, Mr. Adebola Adebiyi, said that about five of his clients were affected by the abrupt cancellation while all efforts to get across to the customer care line of the airline proved abortive.
Adebiyi said that he had purchased tickets for five clients who were scheduled to travel to Abuja with Azman 10:30am flight from Lagos about three weeks ago, but that he was shocked to receive an e-mail from the airline informing him that the flight had been cancelled without further options.
He said that the airline claimed the flight was cancelled due to “operational reasons,” which didn’t explain the details of the cancellation.
He said that the situation was further compounded by the grounding of Arik Air’s operations by aviation unions.
Adebiyi said that he had no choice but to purchase tickets from other airlines at very exorbitant rates.
“I run a travel agency. I have been working with the aviation industry since 2002. We booked tickets from Azman about three weeks ago. The airline on Sunday evening sent a message to me that the flight was cancelled due to operational reasons.
“Immediately I received the message, I tried to call the number, but it was switched off, I sent an email, but there was no response from them. To cut the long story short, I had to get my clients tickets because what they were going for was very important. I had to procure tickets at very high rates simply because Arik Air was not working today (Monday) as its operations due to the grounding of its operations by the unions,” Adebiyi said.
Another affected and angry passenger at the airport, threatened to sue the airline for breach of contract.
The passenger, who simply identified herself as Suzan, said that he got information about the cancellation of the flight at the airport.
She stated that all efforts to get a refund from the airline failed, as she was instructed to re-book for another day.
“ I learnt the airline sent an email to some of the passengers, but I didn’t receive an email from it. I heard about the cancellation at the airport. I appealed to them to give me a refund, they refused.
“I won’t allow this to go lightly because I already had a scheduled appointment in Abuja today. This is not the first time that the airline would do this to me, but I won’t allow this to go unnoticed.”
At the airport , some of the passengers who were too shocked to speak to AbelNews and who have appointments in Abuja, were seen discussing in twos and threes making alternative arrangements.
A copy of the email on the cancellation obtained by AbelNews read, “Dear esteemed passenger, we regret to inform you that your AZMAN AIR flight ZQ2322 LAGOS-ABUJA tomorrow, 14th September 2020 10:30am has been CANCELLED, due to operational reasons.
“Our next available flight LAGOS-ABUJA is on 15th September 2020 at 10:30am. Kindly indicate via email if you wish to go with the flight. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. For further inquiries contact 09099800600, or info airazman.com.”
Attempts made to hear the airline’s side of the story did not yield any fruitful result.
Checks by AbelNews, however revealed that Azman aircraft that was dedicated to fly passengers from Lagos to Abuja on Sunday but was allegedly diverted to a charter operation by the management of the airline.
There are also indications that the cancellation of the Lagos-Abuja flight may also affect passengers in the other routes the airline operates.