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NCAA probes Turkish Airlines over stranded passengers - PUNCH

MAY 26, 2024

BY  Olasunkanmi Akinlotan

An agency of the Federal Government, responsible for regulating aviation affairs, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, has said it will not hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the regulatory body against Turkish Airlines over the airline’s maltreatment of Nigerian passengers.

The regulatory body said this on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen in Lagos.

Over 300 travellers were stranded at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, following the airline’s failure to airlift them to Istanbul.

Aviation unions on Tuesday shut the airlines over allegations that its management sacked seven and was still planning on sacking more.

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The situation prevented the airline from operating.

The spokesperson for NCAA, Michael Achimugu, confirmed that hundreds of passengers were stranded as a result of the face-off involving the Turkish Airlines and aviation unions.

Following this impasse, the management of the airlines announced the cancellation of flights out of and into Nigeria through their airlines till Thursday.

Achimugu added that the NCAA is currently mediating in the feud between the European carrier and labour unions.

Achimugu, however, added that the airline would not be spared if found wanting for a violation of the human rights of Nigerian passengers.

Achimugu further said though the carrier claimed to have communicated with passengers through electronic mail on the ongoing 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, 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 the 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.”

According to the unions, Turkish Airlines management had continued its determined bid to exterminate the union, the National Union of Air Transport Employees from the airline.

Achimugu assured the troubled passengers that NCAA would explore all avenues to resolve the issues.


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