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Sunday, February 25, 2024

FG to meet foreign airlines today over worsening flight disruptions

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Amid the lingering travel chaos at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, following the relocation of foreign airlines to the New International Terminal, the Federal Government has invited foreign airlines to a meeting on Monday (today).

As a result, the Ministerial Committee on Relocation, a panel set up by the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, to look into the travel chaos at the MMIA, will meet with stakeholders at the MMIA to find a lasting solution to the pandemonium.

International passengers departing Nigeria were stranded on Wednesday and Thursday in Lagos, Cairo, Doha, London, and other destinations after baggage belt failures at the new terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, forced airlines to delay and cancel flights.

The pandemonium followed the sudden relocation of foreign airlines from the international terminal of the Lagos airport to an adjoining new terminal, which was opened in March 2022.

The sudden relocation by FAAN came the same day a fire razed part of the baggage hall of the MMIA, forcing the agency to evacuate passengers and personnel from the facility.

An official at the MMIA, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said, “Friday night was worse. Air France left at about 3 a.m. instead of around 11 p.m. Saturday morning was also terrible. The conveyor belt that worked perfectly earlier on Friday morning did not work on Friday night or Saturday morning. Also, only one scanning machine was working in the baggage hall. I understand the second one developed a technical fault. As such, there was a delay in the scanning of bags.

“There are usually more challenges at night because there are more flights operating. Asky left 25 minutes late and left 40 bags behind as they couldn’t delay the flight any further.”

The new terminal, built by the Federal Government with loans from China, had remained underutilized until Wednesday, when FAAN ordered over a dozen international airlines to vacate the MMA international terminal.

The Monday meeting is expected to find a lasting solution to the matter.

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