Uche Usim, Abuja
Barely 24 hours after it pledged to address the perennial challenge of unaccompanied baggage, Turkish Airlines on Friday deployed a wide body airplane, Airbus A330, for the Istanbul-Abuja route, replacing the smaller B737-700.
By so doing, the airline has escaped the hammer of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that had threatened to halt its flights into the country, effective December 16.
Officials of the airline, alarmed by the prospect of losing their Nigerian market, had rushed into a meeting with Nigerian authorities to pledge total commitment and compliance with the conditions given to them in order to continue their operations in the country.
Turkish Airlines has been known for their poor treatment of Nigerian travellers, especially when they have to arrive their destinations without their checked-in luggage. This has led to to security issues at the airports with protests by affected passengers.
However, the airline has now shown commitment to improve its treatment of Nigerian travellers by operating into the Nigerian capital, Abuja, with a bigger and more comfortable aircraft.
Reacting to the development, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika described it as commendable, saying that the situation did not need to arise in the first place, with the airline waiting for a strong-arm handling before making its course correction.
No foreign airline operator would henceforth be allowed to treat Nigerian travellers with disdain, according to the Minister, warning others operators to take a cue from the Turkish Airlines experience.
Sirika has also promised Nigerians better flying experiences as the country’s aviation industry is set to undergo major developments in the coming years, with the implementation of the stakeholder-developed roadmap.