Hundreds of passengers on Thursday struggled for flight tickets at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to travel for the Eid- el-Fitri celebration as only a few domestic airlines operated optimally.
There was traffic upsurge at the domestic terminal of the airport on Thursday morning, especially at Terminal D, where Air Peace operates from.
Some of the passengers struggled to secure seats to Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, which according to them were not available.
One of the passengers, Mr. William Audu, said that he could not get available seat through online booking; so he decided to go to the airport to see if he could secure one on any flight.
Audu, a Lagos-bound passenger, said that First Nation and Medview airlines were not operating.
He said that some airline officials promised to help him secure a seat at a high cost but he declined to disclose the amount.
An Airport official, who pleaded anonymity, said that only Air Peace had full flight schedule with the highest number of flights as well as aircraft.
According to him, First Nation has not scheduled any flight for close to two months while Medview’s last flight was on June 8.
The official said that other domestic airlines such as Azman, Aero, Arik and Dana were also operating with fewer aircraft, adding that some of their aircraft were on maintenance check.
Azman, he said, was operating with only two of its four-fleet two aircraft on Abuja, Lagos and Kano routes as one was deployed for Hajj operation while the fourth is on routine maintenance check.
He said it was difficult for Lagos-bound passengers to get seat since Medview and First Nation were not operating.
The Communications Manager of Air Peace, Mr. Christian Iwarah, said that the airline was currently operating with 24 aircraft.
Iwarah said that no airline could operate with all its aircraft at the same time since it was a standard procedure to always carry out maintenance check on them.
“There is no airline that will have all its aircraft flying at the same time because you have a time for maintenance and when an aircraft is on maintenance, it cannot be in operation.
“Aircraft are scheduled for maintenance and when the time comes, you have to take them.
“All our aircraft are not flying but we have 24 aircraft that we are flying at the moment and we are operating optimally,” he said. (NAN)