Before we even go to the issue of cancelled and delayed flights, it is important to commend the various aviation stakeholders for the sustained safety records gained in civil aviation in recent times.

There is no gain saying the fact that the relevant aviation stakeholders (both public and private sectors) have been able to work in tandem to return confidence to the sector in terms of safety issues.

It wouldn’t be out of place to specially commend government for upgrading aviation safety equipment and also enforcing standards.

Though the level of aviation safety in the country has improved comparatively, a major issue that keeps bedevilling the sector is delay in flights or worse still, outright cancellation of flights.

These incessant delays and cancellation of flights have become so rampant that many aviation passengers may have concluded that it is more of a norm than an aberration.

This recurring development has, no doubt, left many passengers stranded and made many to incur unnecessary and unbudgeted expenses.

Worried by this, the Senate Committee on Aviation, led by Smart Adeyemi, recently summoned the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) to engage them on these and other issues.

Led to the meeting by the Chairman of Air Peace airline, Chief Allen Onyeama, the operators told the Senate Committee that many factors, some beyond their control, lead to delays and cancellations.

According to him, these factors include limited apron at Muritala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja Lagos; unstable supply and pricing of Aviation fuel (also known as Jet A1), sudden change of weather, unavailability of forex, VIP movement etc.

He said “Unfortunately, the apron at Muritala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja in Lagos for instance, can only accommodate a maximum of six aircraft at a time and the newly built apron can accommodate another three to four aircraft. This means jostling for parking space which also causes delay.”

Though we commend the Senate committee for the initiative to probe and find solutions to these problems, we call on the distinguished Senators to work with the relevant aviation agencies in order to find lasting solutions.

Eradicating the menace of flight delays and cancellations will further strengthen the growing confidence of the travelling public in the aviation sector.

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