* As Arik finally takes passengers to Calabar
Fresh facts have emerged about Thursday night?s protest by Arik passengers with information reaching Daily Times indicating that the irate passengers had attempted to ?internationalise? the incident by preventing a British Airways plane from taking off.
According to reports, the passengers, angry with the way they were treated by the nation?s foremost carrier had attempted to block a BA flight which was about to taxi away from the apron preparatory to take off but were prevented from doing so by airport security officials.
What actually triggered off the protest was the manner airline officials had intended to abandon them on arrival back in Abuja after their failed attempt to land at the Margret Ekpo Airport, Calabar.
Calabar airport officials had denied the plane clearance to land because it had arrived the airport at 5.30pm which was beyond the allotted time for planes to arrive the airport.
It was learnt that during the heat of the crisis last night an apparently overworked airhostess fainted, while trying to attend to her passengers.
The airline had combined both the 5pm and 7pm flights to Lagos, which meant that the plane was completely full of passengers.
It was while she was trying to satisfy the passengers many who had become unruly due to the late delay in departing for Lagos that she collapsed.
The situation was only brought under control with the intervention of the Vice Chairman of Arik Air, Aniete Okon who reached a truce with the aggrieved passengers after he promised to put them up in a hotel and provide another aircraft to take them to Calabar on Friday.
The airline kept to its word and airlifted the passengers to Calabar at about 6.30 on Friday.
Meanwhile, The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on Friday confirmed the reason why the Arik airplane was denied landing at the Calabar airport and returned to Abuja.
Daily Times had exclusively reported on Thursday that the airplane had apparently failed to leave Abuja on schedule so that by the time it got to Calabar it was no longer within the window of safety for landing because the Margret Ekpo Airport runway lightening is poor.
A FAAN official, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed this and said Arik Air is aware of this window and safety rules and cannot claim ignorance. He said, in the last few days the air space has experienced weather challenges and airport authorities are not leaving anything to chance.
According to him pilots had been warned against embarking on such late flights due to poor lightening at the airport runway to avoid any air crashes.