Leadership (Abuja)

18 August 2012

Nigeria: Eid-El-Fitri - Large Turnout of Passengers at Lagos Airport

Large turnout of passengers was noticed at both the General Aviation Terminal 1 (GAT) and the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2), Ikeja, Lagos, on Saturday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The turnout was as a result of passengers travelling outside and coming into Lagos to celebrate the Eid-el-Fitri with their families. NAN reports that most of the passengers were seen on long queues waiting to board their flights, while the others were trying to buy tickets in front of the various airline's counters.

A passenger, Alh. Seidu Sanusi, said that he was just coming back from Saudi Arabia where he went for the lesser Hajj. He said that he came early into the country to spend the Eid-el-fitri with his family in Kano State. "I went for the lesser hajj (Umra) in Saudi Arabi and now I am back in the country because I want to celebrate the Eid-el-fitri celebration with my family. I know that it is going to be a great celebration.

"I came in with Emirate flight from Saudi Arabia, through the United Arab Emirate and I am preparing to take another flight to Kano for 2.00 p.m. with IRS airline, " he said.

A civil servant, Mr Paul Dike, explained that he was going to Port-Harcourt with Aero Contractors at 2.40 p.m., noting that he was not surprised at the large turnout of passengers at the airport. Dike said that such turnout was a constant occurrence at the airport during festive periods.

"Today seems to be very busy, as was the case during every festive period in the country. I travelled mostly during festive periods but this time around, it's a little difficult getting ticket.

"The reason is that only two airlines are operating at this terminal and the attendants look overstressed and I believe this may also have caused the long queues at counters.

"I am travelling to Port Harcourt just for the long holidays, not necessarily for the celebration because I am not a Muslim; but the passenger traffic today is very high, " he said. A youth corps member, Miss Chinwe Okenwa, who arrived from Abuja through the GAT, said she was happy to come home as the celebration would give her the opportunity to visit friends and relax.

She said that her aircraft was filled up and some passengers were left behind. Chinwe added that most of the passengers left behind were angry, adding that they planned to stage a protest if the airline management refused to keep their promise.

"I almost missed the flight. There were too many passengers at the Abuja airport coming to Lagos; I was a little bit smart to have boarded this plane, if not, I would have been among the leftovers, " she said.

A cab operator, Mr Akin Akinlade, told NAN that business was booming and fares have also increased due to the rush in passengerstraffic'. Akinlade added that fares for a drop has now increased to between N4,000 and N6,500 depending on the route of the passenger.

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