Passengers Decry Saudi, Sudan Airlines' Treatment

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KANO, Sept 05, (THEWILL) - THE contempt with which Sudan and Saudi Arabia Airlines hold Nigerian passengers, especially Umra Pilgrims became evidently clearer in the last two weeks when both airlines allegedly chose to treat passengers in a manner that contradicts the international aviation regulations bordering on airline and passenger rotation, THEWILL investigation has revealed.

Our findings show that two days ago, the intending Umra pilgrims in this part of Nigeria who were billed to travel to the Holy land on Saudi Airline were disappointed when they were suddenly told by the airline officials at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport that they would not travel as scheduled due to what the airline officials described as technical problems developed by their aircraft.

According to the source, these passengers who were already at MAKIA for the trip were neither accommodated nor fed pending alternative flight arrangements. This the source said, was a naked negation of IATA regulations which makes it mandatory for airlines to take adequate care of its passengers in the event of any flight cancellation.

According to one of the angry passengers, staying in Kano for an extra day was an additional cost, which he did not plan for before leaving Katsina the previous day.

As one of the sources put it, the agents of the airline at MAKIA simply made an announcement informing the passengers of the problem and asking them to drop their telephone numbers in order to contact them on information about their flights. This, the source added, negates international aviation regulations.

A similar scenario played out with Sudan Airline Kano office last week when after days of preparation by Umra pilgrims, the airline failed to airlift them. In reaction to this act of neglect, disappointment and alleged violation of passenger rights, the Sudan Airline’s hundreds of intending Umra pilgrims besieged the airline office along Post Office Road last Sunday to demand for their right.

According to the angry passengers, the airline had repeatedly disappointed them by refusing to airlift them when they promised to do so. Some of the passengers even disclosed that the airline had demanded for additional payment, which according to them, they obliged, but was to no avail as the airline still refused to airlift them.

THEWILL authoritatively gathered that this inhuman treatment meted out to the passengers is a reflection of the airlines latest tendencies, which their local agents often visit on Nigerians.

We further gathered that the airline officials are also taking undue advantage of the simplicity of the passengers whom they often take for granted.

Our correspondent who was at the airline’s office along Post Office Road last Sunday was told that the officials were not willing to see any journalist. On the part of Saudi Air Office at MAKIA, nobody was in the office when our correspondent called.