About 130 domestic flights were cancelled and 185 others delayed in the last 48 hours across the country due to adverse weather condition, Daily Trust findings show.
An analysis of data obtained from the Airline’s Flight Performance Monitor in the aviation passenger service portal shows that the domestic routes had a total of 367 flights as of yesterday afternoon.
Findings show that Arik Air had 31 cancellations, Aero 26, Air Peace 20, Azman 19, among others.
Hazy weather and cold temperature have enveloped some parts of the country in the last few days causing flight delays, rescheduling and cancellations, Daily Trust correspondents report.
Reports yesterday indicated that the temperature in some Northern states was at its lowest ebb in the last couple of years, forcing people to remain indoors.
Towns like Zaria in Kaduna State and Jos in Plateau State recorded the same temperature with places like Cairo and London (UK) at 8 degrees celcius Tuesday morning. According to BBC weather forecast, Jos is likely to witness a low temperature of 5 degrees and a maximum of 20 degrees on Saturday
Disrupted flights in Abuja, Lagos, Yola, P/Harcourt
The travel plans for many passengers across the country have been suffering in the last 48 hours because of mass flight delays and cancellations.
Daily Trust gathered that arrival and departure of local and international flights were temporarily stalled at the Abuja airport late Monday due to poor visibility.
Normal flight operations resumed at about noon yesterday at the airport after several flights had been delayed and in some cases cancelled due to bad weather.
International carrier, Ethiopian airlines said one of its flights from Addis Ababa to Kano had to be diverted to Abuja on Monday due to bad weather. A senior official of the airline who craved anonymity confirmed operations were normal as at yesterday.
Airline sources said an Egyptian Air flight had to be diverted to Lagos before landing in Abuja at noon when operations resumed after weather conditions improved.
The airport which witnessed mass influx of passengers at the festive season have seen passenger traffic drop since Monday.
It is not the best of time for airline operators though some frustrated travellers said because the flights were cancelled due to bad weather, they were not expecting any form of compensation from the airlines.
In Rivers, flight movement at the Port Harcourt International Airport was delayed for more than three hours yesterday because of bad weather.
Our correspondent gathered in Port Harcourt yesterday that Abuja/Port Harcourt and Lagos/Port Harcourt board passengers had their flight schedules delayed for hours as a result of bad weather.
An Port Harcourt/Abuja board passenger, John Martins told our correspondent that his 9:00am flight to Abuja was delayed for hours.
“I was here as early as 8:00am to board flight to Abuja only to be informed that no Aircraft would fly at the moment. Initially they did not explain anything to us but we learnt later from the management that the delay was as a result of fog. Since 8:00am till now I have been waiting to board but to no avail,” he said.
Most of the major newspapers coming from both Abuja and Lagos to Port Harcourt arrived late yesterday as a result of delayed flights.
The adverse weather also disrupted flight operations for two days in Yola International Airport, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
On Sunday and Monday, the weather in Yola was extremely hazy with poor visibility for flights dropping to as low as 500 meters, leading to flight cancellation.
Speaking to Daily Trust yesterday, the airport manager, Hauwa Michika lamented the situation which she said affected revenue generation for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in the airport.
A staff in one of the Airlines operating in the airport who did not want his name published said the weather condition had affected their revenue and caused schedules problems for passengers.
A passenger, Sunday Kaji said although he had booked against Tuesday, the Med View airline rescheduled his trip to today, lamenting that the development affected his plans badly because he could miss his appointment in Abuja.
Extreme cold in Katsina, Jos, Lafia
Katsina residents are experiencing for the first time in years an adverse cold situation that has forced changes in dressings and attitudes. However for some tea, charcoal, second hand clothes sellers, among others, it calls for boost in business.
Malam Haruna who deals in second hand clothes in Katsina said he sold an average of ten bails a week for jackets, sweaters, socks for both children and adults.
Statistics obtained from NIMET office in Katsina shows that maximun and minimum temperature of Katsina in the last three days stood at 23.5 degrees celsius and 9.2 degrees celsius respectively.
Speaking on the issue, Dr Aliyu Kankara of the Geography Department, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University said the change in weather was closely associated with global climate change being experienced worldwide.
In Jos, Plateau State, residents said the last time they experienced an adverse weather condition like now was in 2011.
Some residents even liken the usually thick haze in the evenings these days to an onset of snow. “Look at snow; Jos is snowing,” a resident said yesterday evening.
In Lafia, Nasarawa State, visibility has been poor for the past two days.
NIMET, NCAA, NAMA explain
A mother of two young children said she had kept her children indoors because the weather had adversely affected them. “My children are coughing because of the harsh breeze and dust. I have decided to keep them indoors,” she said.
Director of Weather Forecasting Services at the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Mr Ifeanyi Daniel Nnodu said: “What we are having now is normal that at this period it can happen and what we are having is very severe and once visibility is very poor flights will be cancelled normally.”
Both the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) have advised passengers to exercise patience when airlines reschedule and/or cancel flights at this period.
NCAA’s spokesman Mr Fan Ndubuoke said airline operators were strictly adhering to the regulatory guidelines in the interest of safety.
NCAA said: “All passengers should therefore be aware that whilst NCAA is the statutory regulatory Authority, it behoves on the airlines to ensure that all safety regulations are adhered to. It is pertinent to point out that violations will be viewed seriously by the Authority.”
Also, the spokesman of NAMA, Mr. Supo Atobatele said “When weather feasibility is not clear, airlines delay flights or sometimes cancel flights if necessary, until the weather situation improves and is safe for aircraft to move.”
SOURCE: DAILY TRUST