Inclement weather occasioned by the harmattan haze has forced many domestic carriers to cancel flights from the Lagos Airport into Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, Uyo, Benin, Warri, Asaba , Ibadan and Ilorin.
The harmattan haze resulting in poor visibility is preventing airlines from operating flights into airports less than 800 meters approved weather minima by aviation regulatory agencies.
Airports in South South and South East are worst hit by the inclement weather. Airlines are losing revenue.
Air Peace and Arik Air, the biggest operators by volume of flights, are hugely affected.
Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager Mr Christian Iwarah told The Nation that the airline was badly affected by the weather; it cancelled six flights on Wednesday.
Iwarah said the cancellation of flights into Benin, Calabar, Uyo, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Akure has hugely complicated its schedules with the attendant revenue loss and fidelity to on time performance.
He said most passengers have refused to show understanding that the delays and cancellations are beyond the airlines but forces of nature.
He said :? The inclement weather is seriously affected our operations . We have no choice but to either delay or cancel some flights because we will not fly into any airport below the approved weather minima.
?This is forcing us to lose money and our name because passengers will not understand . This could even force some passengers to attack our staff, we think the relevant security agencies should provide security for our workers and equipment .
?Whatever has happened, we are Lodi g heavily on all sides. How do we handle the backlog of passengers, issues about refund and other challenges.?
He said airline only operated flights today into Lagos , Accra, Owerri, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
On his part, Arik spokesman, Ola Adebanji said the airline could not operate flights into Asaba, Benin, Warri , Ilorin and Ibadan.
He said :? This poor visibility is impacting negatively on our flights because the airline is loosing revenue.?
DANA Air spokesman Kingsley Ezenwa said though the airline operated flights , but it had to monitor the prevailing weather that it meets the prescribed minima.
He said: ?Though DANA Air did not cancel any flights, but we experienced a lot of delays .?
Investigations reveal that many passengers remain stranded at airports waiting airlines to announce boarding for flights.
Some domestic and international airlines yesterday delayed or cancelled flights at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, due to adverse weather conditions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the affected flights involved Air Peace, Dana Air, Arik Air, Azman and Air France.
NAN reports that the affected cities are Port Harcourt, Owerri, Enugu and where both out-bound and in-bound passengers are currently stranded nationwide.
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) had on Tuesday predicted that dust haze weather conditions in horizontal visibility range of one to three kilometres would prevail over most parts of the county on Wednesday.
NiMet also predicted a reduced localised visibility of less than 1000m over many cities throughout the forecast period.
When NAN visited the airport yesterday, there were series of flight announcements on either cancellation or delay of different flights.
At about 10 a.m. it was announced that Dana flight to Port Harcourt had been cancelled due to prevailing bad weather conditions across the country.