FG to sanction Turkish Airlines over mistreatment of Nigerian passengers

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has issued a stern warning to Turkish Airlines, stating its readiness to enforce applicable regulations and impose sanctions over reported mistreatment of Nigerian passengers.

Mr. Michael Achimugu, Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at NCAA, conveyed this message to the press in Lagos on Wednesday.

Achimugu revealed that President Bola Tinubu had instructed relevant agencies, including NCAA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to safeguard the rights of Nigerian passengers. The ongoing feud between Turkish Airlines and aviation labor unions, which led to picketing at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, is under NCAA’s mediation.

Despite efforts for reconciliation initiated by NCAA’s Director-General, Capt. Chris Najomo, Turkish Airlines’ representative reportedly displayed disrespect, signaling a lack of regard for regulatory authority. In response, the government is prepared to investigate the matter thoroughly and administer appropriate penalties if the airline is found culpable.

“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.

“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 mete out the right punishment,” he said.

Over 300 passengers remain stranded due to flight cancellations, exacerbating their plight.

Achimugu assured affected passengers of NCAA’s commitment to ensuring their safe transportation to their destinations.

He personally visited the stranded passengers at the airport, conveying the authority’s determination to resolve the situation promptly.

Among the stranded passengers are individuals like Obiekwe Ngozichukwu, who faces potential job loss in Sweden due to extended absence, and Charles Ifeanyi, a construction worker in Germany, highlighting the personal and professional repercussions of the flight disruptions.

The picketing of Turkish Airlines by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) aims to address grievances related to employee dismissals and mistreatment dating back to 2020. This collective action underscores the importance of protecting workers’ rights and ensuring fair treatment within the aviation industry.