Chaos in Calabar Airport As Airline ‘Dumps’ Passengers Without Luggage

Chaos in Calabar Airport As Airline ‘Dumps’ Passengers Without Luggage

  • Paseengers onboard Aero Contarctors' flight N2-175 from Abuja to Calabar, Cross Rivers state had their luggage left behind in Abuja
  • The passengers said they were disappointed at the inhumane treatment metted to them by the airline
  • Other passengers who had their luggage abandoned by the airline for over two days were also at the Margaret Ekpo Interantional Airport, Calabar waiting to claim their belongings

There was pandemonium at the Margaret Ekpo Airport, Calabar, on Sunday, October 10, as Calabar-bound Aero contractor airline left passengers from Abuja stranded without their luggage on arrival.

This is as the Nigerian airline abandoned passenger’s luggage to accommodate aviation fuel, officials at the Aero contractor desk told passengers.

According to the officials, the was no fuel in Calabar and the airline needed to make a return trip, and passengers’ luggage was left behind to create space for aviation.

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Aero Calabar Passengers
The passengers lamented the ill-treatment meted on them by the airline. Photo: Onche Bishop
Source: UGC

Passengers lament the ill-treatment by the airline

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One of the affected passengers on the aircraft, flight N2-175 from Abuja to Calabar, Cross Rivers state, Bishop Onche, said:

“While we were boarding, the airline officials told us that an embargo have been placed on luggage, to reserve fuel. At the check-in counter, a was assured my luggage would be carried along, as the embargo applies to people with more than one luggage."

Onche, a journalist who travelled to Calabar for a training added that:

“My luggage along with a few others were cleared by FAAN, and we even saw it at the foot of the airline; which was very deceptive, while boarding. I was shocked and angry when I did not see my luggage. I was told my luggage will arrive tomorrow by 5:30 p.m.”

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"I have a training first thing tomorrow morning and everything I need is in my bag; I dont even have a toothbursh or even my toiletries here with me."

Another passenger, a young lady, was seen crying profusely at the airport.

The lady who spoke on anonymity said she travelled to Calabar for an exam, only for her box containing all the necessary documents needed for the exams to be left behind in Abuja.

Although she did not state what examination she was in Calabar to write, the young lady she cannot access the exam centre without the needed documents.

What appears to be a norm for the airline

Other passengers seen at the airline's desk in Calabar had their luggage abandoned in previous days.

These passengers were at the Margret Ekpo International Airport to confirm whether their abandoned luggage had been returned from Abuja.

They were seen making complaints and various inquiries from Aero Contractor officials at the airport

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Speaking on the incident on Sunday, October 10, at the Margret Ekpo International Airport, Nuel, an Abuja-Calabar bound passenger who was on the airline's aircraft two days ago said he was at the airport to pick his luggage.

Nuel said:

"We arrived here on Friday, so they said the aircraft was overcrowded or something and they couldn't carry our bags. So I left, then I came here on Saturday to claim it and they said there was no flight yesterday that's why I came back today."

A sound engineer, Nuel said he had some important items in his luggage and he was not pre-informed that his luggage would be dumped to shed some weight off the aircraft.

He said:

"This is past 4 pm and I have been here for the last one hour and nobody has said anything."
"I came here from Aka-Ifa (5.4 kilometres away from Margaret Ekpo International Airport) and I was here yesterday (Saturday) too."

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Another passenger, Udom Blessing Matthew narrating her ordeal said travelled from Abuja to Calabar for a friend's wedding.

According to Udom, she arrived Calabar on Aero contractors 3.10 pm flight on Friday, only to discover her luggage was left behind in Abuja.

She said:

"I left Abuja on Friday for a wedding which was supposed to hold yesterday (Saturday), the dress and hair I was supposed to wear at the wedding are in my luggage and this is Sunday I still haven’t gotten them."

She noted that despite the disdain with which they were treated by the airline, she is yet to receive either a call, text message or even an email on her luggage.

A seemingly bittered Udom lamenting said:

"I just came in here some, they said some luggage arrived today, and mine is not here. I've been wearing the same clothes and inner wears since Friday."

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Offciials react, promise passengers' luggage would be brought in the next day

Speaking on the issue, the Manager, Aero contractors in Calabar, Victor Dan, said he had called Abuja and was told that the bags would come in tomorrow (Monday) afternoon.

A staff of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) in Calabar who was stationed at the Servicom desk said she has recorded the incident.

The FAAN official said the report would be sent to the office of the NCAA as it is the responsibility of the agency to sanction the airline.

An official of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who simply identified himself as Bruno said this is not the first time the airline had treated passengers in such an unserviceable manner.

Bruno said while, the shedding of weight on aircrafts is not new not even in Nigeria, the NCAA Act mandates the airline in question to inform all the affected passengers before take-off.

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He said:

“And even after take-off, the airline is expected to pay compensation to the affected passengers while ensuring that the luggage is taken to the passengers wherever or whatever address they make available."

He further made complaints forms available for passengers who were still present at the Margret Ekpo International Airport to fill while promising to follow up on the matter.

Bruno said NCAA would ensure that compensation is paid and luggage will be delivered to the affected passengers.

Meanwhile, previously reported that Aero Contractors had abandoned some of its passengers without giving a valid reason for its action.

The airline was said to have left passengers stranded at his stand after its flight took off before the scheduled time.

One of the passengers who were left starnded by the airline is was Ayo-Bankole Akintujoye, founder of Lagos SME Bootcamp.

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