An Arik Airline plane

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The Nigerian authorities has introduced a takeover of the nation’s largest airline – Arik Air – to stop it going bust. However that is simply the newest instance of issues in Nigeria’s aviation trade, reviews the BBC’s Martin Endurance from Lagos.

The federal government company (Asset Administration Company of Nigeria) now chargeable for supervising the airline mentioned the choice was made to “instill sanity within the nation’s aviation sector and to stop a serious disaster.”

Customer support at Arik Air is at occasions non-existent. When the airline cancels a flight, more often than not its floor employees flee slightly than take care of the fallout from irate passengers.

As the corporate’s troubles mounted on the finish of final yr, 70% of its worldwide flights have been delayed.

The agency’s employees bear the brunt for an airline that even by Nigerian requirements is a byword for utter dysfunction. Final month the corporate was pressured to problem a plea for passengers to not attack its employees.

Easy methods to survive the chaos

The federal government company that pushed the airline into receivership reeled off an astonishing rap sheet of Arik’s alleged offences – huge debt, dangerous governance, and “erratic operational challenges.”

As Nigeria’s largest airline, the federal government determined that it couldn’t permit the corporate to break down.

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Employees at Arik Air took strike motion final December in a dispute over wage arrears

However to fly Arik typically means by no means getting off the bottom.

I used to be at Enugu airport once I was instructed my flight was cancelled. The person beside me on the check-in desk simply shook his head – all his flights had been cancelled for the previous two days.

To outlive Nigerian air journey means developing with new methods.

First, discover probably the most dependable airline and keep it up. And, if attainable, take the primary flight within the morning because it’s usually assured to go on time (give or take an hour.)

Delays turn into compounded all through the day as most airways function a shuttle service. So a great guess is mid-afternoon flight will most likely flip into early night flight. Passengers usually solely miss their flight if it really leaves on time.

No person needs to spend an excessive amount of time on the airports right here. Port Harcourt was named the world’s worst in 2015.

Media captionNigerians have spent $6.5bn on personal jets – the BBC visits one in Lagos

Typically talking, although, I’ve at all times felt fairly protected on flights other than after a rocky touchdown when a number of of the overhead baggage bins burst open.

To be truthful to the airways, Nigeria is just not the simplest place to function. Worldwide carriers face big points repatriating their income as they cannot get their fingers on due to Nigeria’s present financial disaster.

The greenback scarcity has additionally led to aviation gasoline shortages inflicting huge disruption up to now few months.

Capital’s airport to shut

The newest main inconvenience dealing with the traveller to Nigeria is the closure of Abuja’s airport for six weeks ranging from subsequent month whereas main repairs are carried out on its runway. Not less than one airline has broken its touchdown gear on the pot-holed tarmac.

With the capital’s solely airport shut down, the federal government goes to reroute flights to an airport within the close by metropolis of Kaduna.

The small airport there presently handles simply 300 passengers a day in comparison with the 5,000 who cross by Abuja’s terminal. Many predict chaos.

Travelling to the capital from Kaduna may also contain a two-hour journey alongside a street that has been hit by a spate of kidnappings. The federal government is promising to placed on additional safety.

Unsurprisingly, a number of worldwide airways have already introduced they won’t being flying into Kaduna, though direct flights to Lagos, Kano or Port Harcourt will proceed.

There are, nevertheless, just a few perks about air journey in Nigeria: Free snacks onboard; unbelievably low cost extra baggage and the truth that you may board with as a lot carry-on baggage as you may really keep on.

Additionally, throughout a yr’s journey in Nigeria, my luggage have at all times arrived on time, which is greater than I can say for British airports.

And regardless of the immense frustrations, I ceaselessly strike up conversations with full strangers.

Delayed Nigerians could make for excellent firm whereas ready on the airport.