Re: Flight No. W3 104

letterSIR: Being a Nigerian and a regular traveller both locally and internationally, I belong to that group of business people who spend more time in the air and at airports than should be permitted.

Along with that comes the near miss of the ill-fated Bellview flight (which in retrospect was more apparent than not) and the cruel pain of losing loved ones in the Dana flight, another disaster that was more apparent than not…and the list could go on…

Patriotism and pragmatism are totally different concepts, I learnt that early enough from my most esteemed mentor, who taught me to always make that distinction. It is with that sense of responsibility that I feel compelled to write this, to make this an issue before it becomes some innocent family’s nightmare.

Arik Air Flight No: W3 104 to and from Johannesburg was a disaster in the making; it was my second time of recent flying the aircraft on a Sunday, and maybe the last.
First, the seats are torn, arm rests broken and even some of the business class seats have huge signs saying “Out of Order”, the aircraft’s in-flight entertainment is also non-functional.

While grappling with the discomfort that this presents, the worst happened when the pressure device became faulty. The pilot had to delay the plane, to have this fixed in Johannesburg, even though some well intending passengers wanted to leave the aircraft for fear of danger, but were not permitted to do so, due to the new anti-terrorist laws as we were told by the attendants (stating that these passengers would have to remain at the airport until the aircraft lands in Lagos safely) – with a plane like this flight No: W3 104, the odds were unfairly staked against them, so they opted to remain in the plane rather than be held accountable for a plane that was already having difficulty getting off the ground in the first place.

When we got close to descent in Lagos, the pressure in the plane went “nuts” there was such intense piercing almost supersonic sound that had us all holding our ears with both hands and barely sitting still. This came with a sense of dizziness, which further left the ears partially blocked for two days.

When I complained to the flight attendants about the several anomalies with the aircraft – again (as I had done so the first time), they were full of despair, one that was apparent that they felt helpless from having to fabricate different excuses to various passengers on several occasions. I was then advised to do what they usually tell their passengers to do, which is to write to the management – a typical way to let you redirect your disgust to the right people by adding one more letter/mail to the heap of the probably shredded ones.

On that basis, I have chosen to do more… to increase the scope of communication, to include unsuspecting Nigerian public, NCAA (Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority), ACSA (Airport Company South Africa), the South African public, pressure groups within and outside both countries, the Nigerian High Commission in Johannesburg and the Minister of Transport and of Aviation.

The management should please change that equipment, and replace it with a proper aircraft, it is a disaster in the making and some of us will attempt in no small ways to stop that disaster from happening.
• Simon Adedoyin,
Lagos.



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