…Issues 24-hour ultimatum to carrier to return passengers’ luggage
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has directed Arik air to pay compensation of $150 to each passenger whose luggage is yet to arrive in Lagos from London Heathrow Airport since Saturday, December 3.
NCAA’s director of consumer protection directorate, Mr. Abdullahi Adamu said while addressing the affected passengers at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos that the airline was made to pay the compensation for its inability to ferry passengers’ luggage over 48 hours after their flight arrived at airport.
“The compensation for delayed luggage according to Montreal Convention of 1999 is $150. Arik has failed in its duty because that compensation should have come the moment the passengers land without his bag.
“They have not done that but are agreeing with the passengers who agreed to waive part of their right to collect $50 instead of $150.
“We have also directed Arik to bring in the balance of their luggage for all passengers in the next 24 hours.
We have written to Arik in that regard and they are complying but that does not stop sanction because a violation has taken place,” said Adamu who described the airline’s conduct as a “national embarrassment” and appealed to the affected passengers to bear with NCAA.
Adamu said the airline had violated the Montreal Convention of 1999 adding that under normal circumstances the passengers ought to have arrived with their luggage.
He regretted that for more than days after arrival, they were yet to get their luggage.
He said if full sanction was applied it would bring down the airlines but assured that the airline would pay for the consequences of its action.
Thereafter, he warned both the domestic and foreign airlines that sanction would be meted out to them in case of luggage default.
It would be recalled that last Saturday, Arik Air could not ferry its passengers and their luggage from London to Lagos.
The airline’s spokesman, Mr. Ola Adebanji had said in a statement that it was constrained to use a smaller aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, to operate the Lagos-London Heathrow route due to maintenance on the wide-body aircraft, A330-200 aircraft that plies that route.
He said apart from the maintenance carried out on the aircraft, one of the carrier’s’ A330-200 aircraft was hit by a handling company at John F Kennedy International Airport New York last Thursday hence the deployment of the B737-800 on the Lagos-London route.
“In order to avoid cancellation of the Lagos-London Heathrow flights, an alternative B737-800 aircraft had to be allocated on the route to minimize the inconvenience to booked passengers.
“The airline was constrained in capacity from a wide-body A330-200 aircraft to a narrow-body B737-800 aircraft and thus had to leave some of the passengers’ baggage behind in London,” he said.