PMB fed up with air delays

2007-12-06 00:00

DISGRUNTLED SA Airlink passengers at the Pietermaritzburg Airport have vowed not to use the facility again after two planes were delayed yesterday and one of them subsequently grounded, causing passengers to miss vital meetings and appointments.

Dr Mike Barrow from Greytown said this was the second international meeting he had to miss because of the local airport.

Two weeks ago he was unable to get to Zimbabwe. “I’m supposed to meet with the government of Kenya and if I don’t catch a plane to Nairobi today I will never use this airport again, ever. I would rather go to Durban where I’ll have options as to which airline I prefer to use,” he said.

Barrow said he wondered if Airlink would refund him for the two nights in a hotel in Nairobi that he has paid for.

Avinash Ramdin said the new jet is causing problems. “It’s ridiculous, I’m supposed to be at a function at 8.30 am in Johannesburg and we are already late as it is now 9 am.”

Peter Wraight said he finds it quicker to travel to Johannesburg by car, if one considers the delays at the airport.

“The Airlink staff at the airport always speak in a rush and people can’t hear what’s happening,” he said.

Snothi Thabethe from Dundee said it is clear that the jet is not new. “Airlink has just given us a jet that’s not being utilised elsewhere. They should just abandon this idea of the jet, because it’s clear that it’s not working out.”

Chairman of Pietermaritzburg Tourism Chris Whyte said the flight problems impact on tourism.

“I hope that our partners in aviation will sort the problems and make arrangements that will impact positively on our city.”

Karin Murray, marketing and sales manager for Airlink, said Airlink does not see any sense in responding to media queries sent to them regarding this issue.

“We have taken a decision not to respond to the same type of questions as previously addressed. We have addressed the issues regarding the delays, we have been honest with our customers, we are aware of the shortcomings and are doing out best to sort them out,” she said.

Airlink has more than 3 500 flights a month and she said technical hitches are inevitable. “… weather-related delays or hiccups are beyond our control … our policy is to respond to each … complaint … ,” she said.

Some passengers were forced to sit outside while they waited, because of a lack of seats at the airport. The Witness saw some trying to reschedule appointments, while some worked on laptops and others whiled away the time reading.

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