*Several Nigerians caught in the snow web in Istanbul
*Many couldn’t resume work in UK, America, Europe
*Over 600 domestic, international flights were cancelled
*Flights may resume Wednesday with weather rating
By Olajide Fashikun, Adejoke Bamidele (Lagos)
Weather, the unpredictable variable in the aviation industry made life so difficult for Turkish Airlines as her passengers in Lagos were prevented by the quick intervention of security operatives Monday prevented the stranded passengers from taking laws into their hands at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos when they stormed the airline’s counter. Meanwhile, the same factor caught several passengers who wanted to leave Istanbul due to very heavy dropping of snow.
The 410 passengers’ frustration came to a head when the hotel they were lodged since Saturday evicted them from the facility, forcing them to the airport to find out why they were thrown out of Golden Tulip Hotel in Festac.
They said the carrier was not forthcoming when they stormed the airline’s Head office at its Victoria Island in Lagos. When www.gongnews.net visited the airport, the airline was seen selling tickets even when it was not certain of airlifting the backlog of passengers as it was not sure when it would operate out of Lagos.
For four days, Turkish Airlines has refused to pick passengers to their destinations via Istanbul, citing weather condition in Europe, especially in Istanbul. Passengers that were to transit through Istanbul coming home from America and other places after the Christmas and New Year holidays were equally trapped and housed in hotels.
The passengers have expressed concern over the inability of the carrier to pick them before they were lodged in hotels in Lagos.
Some of the protesting passengers who spoke to www.gongnews.net expressed serious disappointment in not being told why they were being held back. Many of those flying out of Nigeria were supposed to be returning to their jobs in Europe and the United States.
Turkish Airlines, in a statement yesterday, said: “On behalf of Turkish Airlines Lagos, we regret the inconveniences in the disruption of Lagos to Istanbul flight due to bad weather issue on 7th January.
“We hereby advise you to proceed to our Head Office at 1, Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island Lagos for a change of your ticket to other available dates or ask for a full refund at your ticket purchase unit. We hope to see you flying with us in the future.”
Turkish Airlines were forced to cancel over 600 domestic and international flights as a result of the heavy snow. As at 7:20pm Nigerian time on Tuesday, the situation has drastically improved from an 80% no fly to 18%. If the situation remains on the improvement ranking, many flights cancelled may be rescheduled and flights resume.