By OLUSEGUN KOIKI
The Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, has witnessed massive upsurge in travellers since the beginning of the week, as passengers leave the country in droves.
International airlines like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, South African Airways, Kenya Airlines and a few others have witnessed enormous increase in passengers’ traffic in the past four days.
A close source to one of the airlines, who doesn’t want his name in print, attributed the increase in passengers travel to the forthcoming elections in the country.
But, the British Airways Regional Commercial Manager, West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka, who confirmed the upsurge in passengers’ traffic with our correspondent on phone, attributed the upsurge to the forthcoming Esther celebration and vacation in schools.
However, the airline source explained that most of the airlines especially British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have overbooked their capacities in the past four days, a situation which led to some of the passengers being rescheduled by the airlines.
The source said that since it was certain that the presidential and gubernatorial elections would be held on the stipulated dates, some of the country’s citizens and foreigners are apprehensive that the election may lead to upheaval.
The airline source however, said that most of the travellers don’t want to be caught in the web of election crisis, saying that politicians in recent time have caused the unnecessary tension.
Our correspondent who went to the international wing of the terminal on Monday and Tuesday nights observed that international passengers were eager to leave the shores of the country.
One of them who simply identified herself as Adebisi, a passenger with British Airways said she decided to travel out of the country because of perceived crisis in the post-election period.
Adebisi was seen in the company of her three children; two males and a female, but declined to speak further when pressed more by our correspondent.
Confirming the upsurge in air travellers, Olayinka told our correspondent that surprisingly passengers’ volume had increased in the past three days despite the lull the airline business recorded in January and February due to devaluation of naira against the dollar.
He dismissed the notion that the increase was due to the forthcoming elections in the country and said apart from British Airways, other international carriers too have experienced increase in passengers’ traffic.
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