On 9 Dec 2022, customers of Antigua Airways received a shocking email that their reservation to fly from Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja, to Antigua and Barbuda scheduled to leave December 23, 2022, is null and void.
Customers were informed that they would receive a refund, but the company claims that they would not be issuing the refund but rather, Stripe, a credit card processing company, would issue the refund. The airline claims in an email that, “Our online payment processor, reached out to us that they couldn’t process all the payments because of the high risk on some of the card payments.”
In the same mail, Antigua Airways provided a Canadian bank account where customers were instructed to make a cash deposit in order to secure their seat on the flight, claiming other customers were waiting in line to book the flight. A deadline for payment was given for the 14th of December only 5 days after receiving the email notice.
When customers contacted Stripe, Stripe confirmed that their payment of 3630 USD had been successful and that only the merchant can issue the refund which is contrary to the claims of the airline. Stripe also explained that a refund takes a minimum of 10-15 days, yet could not confirm that customers refunds had been initiated.
Opeyemi Olorunfemi, appears to be the Managing Director of the airline and has a bank account in Canada yet claims their office is in Abuja. Mr. Olorunfemi is named on the federal corporation registered by Corporations Canada and appears to be connected to the owner of Antigua Airways, who also owns Marvelous Mike Press.
What’s mysterious is that no efforts were made by the Airline to advertise for the so-called upcoming flight scheduled for December 24th just weeks following the inaugural flight between Lagos, Nigeria and Antigua and Barbuda last November. It was reported that only 100 people were on the inaugural flight yet the airline currently claims all 251 seats are booked for the upcoming flight despite no advertising and are pressuring customers to pay for the flight again. It’s suspicious that the airline can cancel customers’ reservations, not issue a refund and then demand customers pay again.
Last week the Antigua Observer reported that the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office Lionel ‘Max’ Hurst confirmed that a flight would likely occur on December 23rd. It’s curious who exactly the Antigua and Barbuda government has gotten in bed with and if such scandals will harm the government’s reputation as customers plan to file complaints with the Nigerian, Canadian and Antigua and Barbuda governments about the airlines poor business practices.