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    Thursday, May 23, 2024

    NCAA to Sanction Turkish Airlines

    The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has said that it would not hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the organisation’s  regulations to sanction Turkish Airlines following the latest misdemeanor towards some Nigerian passengers.

    Presently, over 300  Nigerian/Istanbul bound passengers have been left stranded for the second day at the Murtala Muhammed airport.

    The spillover effect has equally affected many Nigerians who are stranded in Istanbul, Turkey due to the spillover effect of the airline’s inability to operate its flights out of Nigeria.

    Confusion over the airline’s flight operations out of Nigeria has been traced to the picketing of the airline office at the Lagos airport following the refusal of the airline to allow its Nigerian workers to unionise and the subsequent sack of some workers whose majority are union members.

    All efforts made by the aviation unions to get the airline to reverse its decision failed which led to the subsequent picketing of the airline on Tuesday.

    The picketing disrupted the airlines operations out of Nigeria which led to many Nigerian passengers stranded at the Lagos airport.

    According to information gathered, some of the stranded passengers who travelled to Lagos to catch their flight to Istanbul were forced to sleep at the Lagos airport.

    After the meeting held with the Turkish airline team at the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Lagos headquarters Wednesday,  the NCAA while addressing the media hinted that it may be forced to sanction Turkish airlines  over its shabby treatment of Nigerians with reckless abandon.

    Speaking with aviation journalists after meeting with the Turkish airline team, the director of corporate communications and consumer protection, Mr Michael Achimugu revealed how President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has instructed the NCAA’ the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other relevant agencies to ensure the rights of Nigerian travelers are no longer trampled upon”.

    NCAA spokesperson and Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, Mr. Michael Achimugu while telling the media that the regulatory agency is already intervening in the aturkish Airline/unions faceoff, said the Federal Government and its agencies will spare no efforts to call to order any airline that violates the rights of Nigerian passengers.

    The meeting held with the airline at the instance of the Director General of NCAA, Captain Chris Najomo who despite being in the United Kingdom presently took part virtually is a move to reconcile the warring parties.

    Unfortunately, the representative of the airline was said to have exhibited some traits of impunity which the regulator described  as lack of regard for the system.

    Following the inappropriate display oft he Airline leadership at the meeting, the NCAA director said the Federal Government will not hesitate to look deep into the confusion with the possibility of extracting the right punishment if the carrier is found culpable.

    According to Achimugu, the 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.

    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 until Thursday.

    Achimugu said though the carrier claimed to have communicated with the affected  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.

    His words: “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 , Captain Chris Najomo 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.”

    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.

    Achimugu later visited the stranded passengers at the new terminal of the international airport where he conveyed the message of the DG CA to the stranded passengers, affirming that the authority will not rest until they are airlifted to their various destinations.

    “I assure you all that the NCAA is on top of your matter. We have met with officials of the Turkish Airlines today and we are working towards resolving the issues between the airline and the labour union to ensure that you are airlifted out this airport. The DG feels your pain, which is why we are here to attend to your plight”, Achimugu added.

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