On the Go

INSIDE STORY: How Ibom Air delayed Lagos-Abuja flight for 6 hours, threatened arrest of aggrieved passenger

BY Samad Uthman


Passengers who booked the Ibom Air flight QI 0316 from Lagos to Abuja were stranded at the Murtala Muhammad international airport in Lagos for six hours on Thursday.

The flight was initially scheduled to leave for Abuja at 5:50pm on Thursday.

However, hours before the scheduled departure, the airline sent a message to passengers that the flight time had been postponed till 6:55pm.

“Dear Valued Customer, we write to notify you that there will be a 1 hour 50 minutes delay on your flight, QI0316, Lagos-Abuja today, scheduled to depart Lagos at 05:50 pm. Your flight will now depart at 06:55 pm,” the message reads in part.


However, at about 7pm, the central address system of the airport announced that the flight had been again postponed by another two hours, with no explanation given for the delay.

Passengers at the airport demanded explanation on why the flight time was shifted, but none of Ibom Air’s top management staff was available to offer reasons behind the development.

Amid the confusion, TheCable reporter observed that two Abuja-bound flights — also Ibom Air — departed the airport.


Around midnight, an Ibom Air aircraft touched down at the airport, and a call for boarding was made.


Citing insecurity, a male passenger asked the airline to provide accommodation for passengers upon landing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport in Abuja.

“I’m not going to leave this airport until the management of Ibom Air makes provision for where I’m going to stay safe in Abuja because it’s late already,” the passenger, whose name was not given, said.


“I had wanted to see my sick mother in the hospital in Abuja, and I also had a business to attend to, which I could not do.

“I’m not leaving here, and this flight is not leaving either.”

After a while, with nothing concrete said on the request for accommodation, passengers were called for boarding.

However, the protest continued in the aircraft, and the pilot, who identified himself as “Captain Dunmola”, announced that the flight was delayed because of an unserviceable plane.

He apologised for the delay but said he could not commence the flight due to an “unruly passenger”, referring to the protesting male passenger.

The cabin crew, thereafter, invited a police officer to take away the protesting passenger, but the attempted arrest was resisted by other passengers.


“This delay was caused by the breakdown of one of our planes in Abuja. That one can carry 150 passengers, while this one can carry only 80 passengers,” Dunmola continued, while trying to apologise again.

“So, there’s no way we could airlift everyone at once. Once again, we are very very sorry for this inconvenience.

“However, as we proceed on our journey to Abuja, we would like everybody to abide by safety protocol.

“Once again, we would like to apologise for the very late departure, very very late departure, which is unlike Ibom Air. But things happen.

“We have a few occasional reasons, as we all say in some quarters. We are very, very sorry for this late departure. We would be on our way shortly. It’s a 52-minute flight and 31,000 feet.”

The aircraft later touched down at the Abuja airport around 1am on Friday.

Meanwhile, in June 2021, amid complaints over delayed flights, the federal government had said airlines must refund full cost of travel tickets after two-hour delay.

Hadi Sirika, minister of aviation, had also said for “delay between 10pm and 4am, carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, two free calls, SMS, email, and transport to-and-fro airport”.

See photos below.


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