FG orders investigation into maltreatment of Nigerian passengers by Turkish Airlines

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and the other relevant agencies to look into the allegations of abuse of passengers’ rights by Turkish Airlines.

Spokesman for the NCAA, Mr Michael Achimugu said in a statement that the action followed complaints of the airline’s maltreatment of hundreds of Nigerian passengers left stranded at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

He said the move is meant to ensure that the rights of Nigerian passengers are protected anywhere they might be facing challenges.

“The NCAA will not hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the Civil Aviation regulations to roll out stiff penalties and sanctions to Turkish Airlines over the airline’s maltreatment of Nigerians passengers.

“The NCAA is currently meditating on the feud between the European carrier and aviation labour unions which picketed the airline’s operations at the Lagos Airport on Tuesday.

“The federal government and its agencies will spare no efforts to call to order any airline that violates the rights of Nigerian passengers.
“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.

“The federal government will take every step to ensure the rights of Nigerian passengers are not trampled upon by any carrier, including foreign airlines, in taking the right steps to address any infractions on their conditions of operations into the country,” Achimugu said.

He also disclosed that the director general of the NCAA, Capt Chris Najomo 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 bad behavior.

“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,” he said.

Achimugu further said 300 Nigerian passengers had been trapped in the impasse involving the Turkish Airlines and aviation unions, as the carrier had 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.

“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,” he said.