Turkish Airlines Under NCAA's Regulatory Scrutiny

Turkish Airlines is walking a tightrope, as Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) threatens to crack down on the carrier’s alleged mistreatment of Nigerian travelers. With regulatory action looming, the airline must shape up or face the consequences.

In a briefing with journalists in Lagos on Wednesday, Michael Achimugu, the NCAA’s Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, revealed the regulator’s stance on Turkish Airlines’ treatment of Nigerian passengers.

To guarantee a seamless travel experience for Nigerians, President Bola Tinubu has issued a presidential directive to the NCAA, FAAN, and other agencies, emphasizing the imperative to protect passengers’ rights and interests at all times.

As the dispute between Turkish Airlines and aviation labor unions intensifies, the NCAA has taken a proactive approach, engaging in mediation efforts to resolve the issue and restore normalcy to the airline’s operations at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

With Nigerian travelers still languishing at the airport, the NCAA has vowed to impose harsh sanctions on Turkish Airlines if it fails to promptly resolve the issue and transport the affected passengers to their destination in Istanbul.

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

According to him, the Director-General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo, had in a virtual meeting on Tuesday from the United Kingdom initiated reconciliatory moves between the Country Manager of Turkish Airlines and the unions.

The regulator was unimpressed with the airline representative’s behavior, which they saw as arrogant and dismissive, demonstrating a clear lack of consideration for the established norms and procedures.

In the wake of the incident, Achimugu warned that the Federal Government would conduct a thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned, and would not hesitate to impose appropriate sanctions if the airline is found guilty of wrongdoing.

Read also: NCAA Will Audit All Local Airlines Soon – Keyamo

Achimugu assured that the Federal Government would be vigilant in protecting the welfare of Nigerian travelers, taking prompt and decisive action against any airline that violates their operational agreements or infringes on the rights of passengers in Nigeria.

More than 300 travelers found themselves in a precarious situation as Turkish Airlines canceled all flights to and from Nigeria until Thursday, due to an ongoing dispute with aviation unions.

Achimugu noted that despite the carrier’s claims of having notified passengers via email about the operational issues affecting its flights into and out of Nigeria, some travelers still arrived at the Lagos Airport, suggesting a communication breakdown.

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 Tinubu has directed the NCAA, FAAN and relevant agencies to ensure 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 D-G in a shouting match, he was even banging the table.

Achimugu declared that the behavior towards the NCAA was intolerable, and if the airline is deemed responsible after their investigation, they would enforce the pertinent sections of Regulation Part 17 to administer a fitting penalty.

Africa Today News, New York 

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