British Airways has finally confirmed that it abandoned Nigerian passengers in Accra, Ghana for two days after initial denial. British Airways had abandoned about 300 of its Nigerian passengers in Accra, Ghana following the diversion of the flight to the former Gold Coast country last week by the airline due to bad weather.
Recalled that BA, as it is popularly called, had abandoned about 300 Nigerian passengers in Accra, asking them to find their way to Lagos, Nigeria when it was glaring that it could not fly them into Lagos.
One of the abandoned passengers, Mr. Michael Williams, in a chat stated that BA abandoned them in Accra, Ghana and told them to find their way to Lagos after 48 hours in the city.
He stated that the flight was supposed to land in Lagos last Tuesday, but the diversion to Accra made the passengers to spend another two days in Accra before they eventually returned to Lagos on Friday night through their own private arrangements.
Williams added that some of the affected passengers had to return to Nigeria on Friday evening through a charter bus from Cross Country Automobile Company when British Airways said its Boeing 747 aircraft deployed to the Lagos-London route would be returning to London.
BA had in a memo sent to affected passengers, said, “Due to adverse weather at the airport we were unable to safely land into Lagos Airport. We regret to inform you that due to the operational constraints, we have had to cancel this flight. “We recommend that you make your own travel arrangements to Lagos as we are unable to operate safely in the coming days. If you wish to travel from Accra – London Heathrow, there is limited availability of seats to book on. Please speak with our colleagues at the airport to adjust your ticket, subject to availability.
“BA078 Accra – London Heathrow is scheduled to depart at 23:00 local time. Please submit your receipts for claims hotels, transport, refreshment, the cost for calls and internet access and transport to www.ba.com/helpme.”
However, British Airways in a statement signed by its General Manager, West Africa, Kola Olayinka and made available to journalists today tendered an unreserved apology to the affected passengers for the inconveniences and ordeals of varying degrees, experienced some days ago.
“We would like to use this opportunity to tender an unreserved apology to our esteemed customers for the inconveniences of varying degrees, experienced these past few days. The situation has been a result of recent delays and diversions of flights occasioned by the inclement weather causing very poor visibility at the Lagos Airport, coupled with a number of factors outside of our immediate control.
“In these unique cases, the decision to delay or divert flights were made carefully by our pilots who are well trained to handle situations like this, especially in consideration of the safety and security of our passengers and crew.
“As a people-first airline, we ensured that our customers were properly accommodated in hotels where adequate rooms were available, meals, refreshments, and transport to and from the Airports were provided for their movement at the different Airports in Accra, Abuja, and Lagos.
“Regrettably, in this unique case, most hotels were taken up by passengers of airlines that were earlier diverted to Abuja. The direct result was the inadequacy of accommodation. To resolve this, we booked all 157 available rooms and accommodated 157 passengers; we also ensured the safety of the remaining passengers by accommodating them in a dedicated area provided by Sheraton where we provided meals and drinks.”
According to Olayinka, the Accra incident was markedly unpredictable as the delay lingered for two days due to the persisting weather condition.
He informed that BA chartered a Boeing 767 from Euro Atlantic to convey passengers from Accra to Lagos, adding that however, a number of passengers had opted to make personal arrangements for their return.
“We regret the frustrations experienced and the disruptions it would have had on earlier-planned engagements of our esteemed customers. We would also like to use this opportunity to encourage passengers to send receipts of expenses incurred during this period to our customer relations team on standby to process the reimbursements and also attend to queries.
“We remain unwaveringly committed to the safety and comfort of every passenger and crew member. That is, and will always be the priority for everyone at British Airways.”