More than 300 passengers on the Cross River State financed (Aero Contractors-operated) ‘CallyAir’ flight, were yesterday stranded in the Calabar, Abuja and Lagos airports, after their scheduled flights were cancelled for what airline staff say was “technical reasons”.
Investigations by www.calitown.com revealed that, after the aircraft flew passengers from Calabar to Abuja and then did the Abuja to Lagos leg of the journey, something didn’t mechanically seem right, forcing the operators to take the aircraft to the hanger for safety checks. The checks are believed to have shown that the one plane deployed for the return trip to Abuja and then Abuja to Calabar, was not going to fly. Abuja bound passengers in Lagos became somewhat restive when this news filtered to them, forcing the airline to look for an alternative aircraft, at the airline’s expense, to fly them to Abuja.
It was however a different kettle of fish for passengers waiting to be flown from Abuja to Calabar. “I came into Abjua this morning with Caly Air and booked a return ticket for 3pm. I came to this airport at about 2pm after finishing business that brought me to Abuja. They cancelled the flight two times and then later called us to go downstairs for further information. On getting down to the ticket person he said the flight has been canceled for technical reasons and that we should go that the flight will be rescheduled”, a passenger on the flight to Calabar yesterday, informed us. At press time this morning, the flight to Calabar had not been rescheduled. Passengers on the flight who demanded for a refund, got paid refunds at about 7pm, short of between N500 – N1000, a 5% deduction casually explained away as Insurance Tax, depending on the category of ticket purchased. Some of the stranded passengers are believed to have slept in the airport.
The punishment that followed.
Most of the Calabar bound passengers in Abuja, eager to look for flight alternatives, approached Air Peace and Ibom Air, the two other airline operators flying to Calabar. At the Air Peace counter they were told that for economic considerations, the airline does not do the Calabar route on Tuesdays. At the Ibom Air counter, the passengers had to unexpectedly chew a raw deal, falling into an immediate cash trap. Ibom Air, flying to Calabar the next day (today Tuesday) swiftly pushed flying cost to between N45000 – N48000 on the Abuja to Calabar route, forcing several passengers to pay through their skins and incur additional travelling costs that have subtly made flying, not with Ibom Air but with ‘CallyAir’ a nightmare. “If what we say is our own airline didn’t disappoint us, will Ibom Air have taken advantage of our unfortunate plight? The answer is no”, as a visibly angry passenger told us.
“I am happy that the CRS Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Tanko Ashang, is also on this flight and has also faced the disappointment that I have faced. I am going to get a hotel for myself, pay airport taxi back to this hotel, feed and pay back in the morning. It is now costing me about N73000 to fly one way to Calabar, from Abuja. I am pained”, we were told.
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