• Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Aviation authority to sanction Turkish Airlines for maltreating Nigerian passengers

Turkish Airlines resumes operations after picketing, to airlift stranded passengers

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said on Wednesday that it would sanction Turkish Airlines over the airline’s maltreatment of Nigerian passengers, who have remained stranded for over 24 hours at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, following it failure to airlift them to Istanbul.

The agency disclosed that the President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and relevant agencies to ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are always protected.

Michael Achimugu, the NCAA spokesman and Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, said the NCAA is currently meditating in the feud between the European carrier and aviation labour unions which picketed the airline’s operations at the Lagos Airport on Tuesday.

Achimugu said the Federal Government and its agencies will spare no efforts to call to order any airline that violates the rights of Nigerian passengers.

According to him, Chris Najomo, the director general of NCAA, had in a virtual meeting on Tuesday from the United Kingdom initiated reconciliation moves between the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines and the unions, but the representative of the airline exhibited some traits of impudence, which the regulator deemed amounted to lack of regard for the system.

Read also: Flight disruption looms as NLC pickets Turkish Airlines today

Arising from the infraction, Achimugu said the Federal Government will not hesitate to look deep into the impasse with the possibility of extracting the right punishment if the carrier is found culpable.

Over 300 stranded passengers seek govt intervention

The Federal Government, he said, will take every step to ensure the rights of Nigerian passengers are not trampled upon by any carrier, including foreign airlines.

He confirmed that over three hundred passengers have been trapped in the imbroglio involving the Turkish Airlines and aviation unions, as the carrier has canceled flights out of and into Nigeria.

Achimugu said though the carrier claimed to have communicated with passengers through electronic mail on the on-going hitch concerning its operations into and out of the country, some passengers still turned up at the Lagos Airport.

He said: “The NCAA is currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the inability of Turkish Airlines to operate flights out of Lagos Airport, due to the picketing of its operations by aviation unions; we will ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are not violated.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) , and relevant agencies that the rights of Nigerian passengers are protected.

“Currently, the NCAA is engaging officials of Turkish Airlines, but we have observed some degree of insolence of the Country Manager, who engaged our Director General in a shouting match. He was even banging the table. This behaviour to the NCAA is unacceptable. At the end of our findings, if the airline is found culpable, we will invoke the relevant parts of our regulation Part 17 to meet out the right punishment.”

Recall that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday commenced the picketing of Turkish Airlines in Lagos in a bid for the carrier to reinstate staff that were dismissed, forced to abandon duty or forced to resign under duress, including those victimised for their union membership in 2020.