Almost 100 Aero Contractors passengers booked to travel from Sokoto to Lagos and Abuja on Friday were left stranded at the airport after their flights were cancelled at the last minute without prior notice.
No reason was given for the cancellation of the flight, which was scheduled to depart Sa’ad Abubakar 111 International Airport at 1.30 p.m.
Majority of the stranded passengers were journalists and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, management staff who were returning to their stations after attending a workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents.
Some foreigners, who were also affected, were mostly United Nations officials as well as others Nigerians travelling to Abuja to board their flights outside the country.
Few minutes before the schedule time for boarding, the announcement came that the flight would be delayed for about two hours.
More than one hour after later, at about 2.30 p.m., the announcement came from the public address system at the departure hall confirming the eventual cancellation of the flight.
Aero Contractors staff at the airport could not offer any explanation why the flight was put off.
The only other airline operating at the airport, Air Peace, had taken off earlier in the day on its morning flight at 10.30 a.m.
Majority of its passengers who were disappointed with Arik airline’s cancellation expected to travel with Aero.
But, the cancellation by Aero meant those passengers, who did not opt for the journey by road, would be stranded for two days.
Following their protest to the airline’s office at the airport, the stranded passengers were asked to either return to the locations they did their bookings for the refund, or wait till Sunday when the airline’s next flight to Sokoto is scheduled.