Arik Air Passengers Stranded in Senegal - Authority Grounds Plane Over Debts

More than 100 Nigerian passengers scheduled to be airlifted home by Arik Air, are presently stranded at the Dakar Airport, Senegal, due to the inability of the Nigerian carrier to pay Senegalese authority airport charges


Daily Independent learnt that Arik Air was supposed to convey the passengers Nigeria since July 13, but that since the airline has failed to take them home, they are still stranded in the country.

A female passenger Chinwe Mezue, who called from Senegal, said that over 100 passengers have been abandoned by the airline, adding that they have been sleeping at the airport for the past one week.

She said that when the situation was becoming unbearable, 25 passengers approached the Nigerian Ambassador to Senegal to see if he could resolve the issue but all to no avail.

On why the passengers did not make their complaints known to the Arik Air Station Manager, Mezue said the Station Manager had abandoned his house following threat by stranded and angry passengers to deal with him if he fails to provide aircraft for them to return to Nigeria.

The angry passenger said that when the authority of the airport was contacted on the issue, it was alleged that Arik Air was grounded because it refused to pay airport charges.

She said that the greatest challenge the passengers are having now is that they have no money on them and that they have exhausted all what they have on them.

Attempt to reach the Media Officer of Arik Air , Mr Banji Ola proved abortive, as his mobile numbers were not available.

Airlines, oil marketers, ground handling companies and government agencies are indebted to aviation service providers and the regulator, a jumbo sum of N32.4 billion as at April 30 this year.

Top on the list of the debtors is Arik Airline whose debt profile in FAAN records indicate that it is owing N1,965,475,207.64 from its operations in and out of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos and N797,435,128.34 at the General Aviation Terminal(GAT), Ikeja, Lagos totalling N2.762 billion.
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