Mad rush at Lagos Airport ahead Eid-el-Fitr holidays

MMIA Muritala Muhammed International Airport

Passengers stranded at the airport

Muritala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria

Passenger traffic rose at the Domestic Terminals 1 and 2 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Friday ahead of the Eid-el-Fitr holidays.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents at the airport terminals observed an influx of outbound and inbound passengers heading to various destinations.

Many passengers were seen on long queues, waiting to board flights, while others waited patiently to pick up their luggage on arrival.

Several air travellers were also seen struggling to get seats on the few available flights to their various destinations across the country.

An air ticket from Lagos to Kano, which hitherto sold for between N24,500 and N27,000, rose to about N30,000 and N35,000 in some cases due to high demand.

Flights from Lagos to Abuja, which normally cost between N15,000 and N26,000, depending on the airline and the time of flight, also went for N22,000 or more.

There were no flight tickets available on the Lagos-Benin and Lagos-Port Harcourt routes as seats had been over-booked since Thursday.

It was also observed that most of the flights that had their fares increased were heading for the Northern part of the country.

The Air Peace Airlines check-in counter had the longest queue of passengers at the General Aviation Terminal, while the Dana Airline also had the longest queue at the MMA2.

A passenger, Mrs Funmilayo Durosinmi, who was travelling to Abuja with her children, said she had purchased tickets for the flight from Lagos the previous week.

Durosinmi, however, said that she got to the airport a few minutes after the first boarding call but was denied access to the plane on the excuse that she was late.

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“I was surprised to get here only to learn that I was late. My flight was scheduled for 12:30p.m., and I got here at 10.30 a.m. because of traffic, but the airline’s officials did not check me in.

“They said I was very late; I had to run around to raise extra money to pay in order to be able to go with the next available flight.

“I think it is rather unfair, because I should still have been allowed to get on the plane,’’ she lamented.

Another passenger, Mr Olutomi Ipaye, who was heading to Enugu, said: “It is funny how things operate here.

“This is a time to share and not to exploit your passengers,’’ Ipaye said.

According to him, domestic airlines should learn to introduce low cost promotional fares to attract travellers instead of exploiting passengers as a result of the season.

He decried the dearth of government-owned airlines, saying the few ones that were privately-owned were cashing in on the development at the detriment of their customers.

The Federal Government has declared June 26 and 27 as public holidays to mark the festive period.

Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured all airport users that Nigerian airports under its management are fully ready to play host to all air travellers, especially during the celebration.

FAAN, in a statement signed by its Acting General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, advised the general public and intending travellers to make early preparations to enable them complete their travel requirements in good time.

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