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Cablegate: Update On Stranded World Airways Passengers

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

111041Z Jan 04

UNCLAS LAGOS 000054

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/OCS/ACS/AF

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC SOCI NI
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON STRANDED WORLD AIRWAYS PASSENGERS

REF: LAGOS 000031

1. On Thursday, January 8, 2004, approximately fifty
stranded World Airways passengers appeared at the Consulate
demanding assistance in returning to the U.S. Some of the
passengers claim they have been stranded since December 31
and have been staying overnight at the airport while
awaiting word from World Airways as to when they can return.

2. In an effort to be responsive and to calm the
passengers, ACS Officer arranged a meeting with the stranded
passengers in which the Consul General attended. The Consul
General advised the passengers that we were concerned about
their situation and attempting to find alternatives for
their travel. However, their only financial recourse may be
a legal one.

3. Passengers received a briefing from the ACS officer as
to the repatriation process and alternatives such as
securing flights via another carrier as well as obtaining
money from family and friends to assist them financially.

4. The passengers stated their appreciation at having the
Consul General speak with them. Further, they stated it was
the first time during this entire ordeal that they felt
anyone cared about their situation.

5. Over the past two days, we have collected eleven
applications for a loan. Of those, we have determined that
four are truly in need of repatriation. We have also
received additional passengers that are asking for letters
for their employers or schools. We have learned that World
Airways tickets were sold through Friday, January 9, 2004.
The airline stopped flying on December 31.

6. ACS Officer believes we will continue to see stranded
passengers who become increasingly destitute as time passes.
As they come in, we will process them all as individual
repatriation cases.

HINSON-JONES

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