Arik Air flight traveling from Lagos to Asaba, Delta State, made a sudden turn midair on Friday after it reached its destination but was told that the airport was “closed for the day”. Flight W3 628 had to return to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, with the disappointed passengers.
The spokesperson of the airline, Olabanji Ola, who confirmed the incident said, “When the pilot approached the Asaba Airport, the control tower told him it would be too late for the aircraft to take off again if it lands in the airport. “The airport is for daylight operation because it does not have traffic lighting. So, there’s a particular time if the pilot enters the airport the plane would not be able to take off again because of sunset,” Ola said.
The incident happened around 6.15p.m. The spokesperson said that Arik was very well aware of the limitation at the Asaba airport, but that “the normal time the airport is supposed to close which the airport gave us is 6.30 p.m.”. He, however, said that the airline was not liable for any damage the passengers may have suffered because of the incident. “What has happened is a force majeure, the airline is not liable. In this circumstances, what we did was to reschedule the flight for next day.
“It is not as if we have canceled the flight. Any passenger that is not ready to be on the flight again, we will refund the fare,” Ola said. Chidinma Aniakor, one of the passengers on the Arik flight, was said to have resorted to traveling by night in a bus from Lagos to Asaba in order to meet up with an important engagement.