…Airlines cancel flights over poor visibility
By Louis Ibah
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has slammed a fine of N6 million on Arik Air for the delay and inability to ferry passengers’ checked-in luggage on the airline’s services from London Heathrow Airport to the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos between December 2 and 4, 2016.
The NCAA said upon receipt of the complaints by the affected passengers, it invited the airline to a meeting on December 6, 2016, which was duly attended by the airline’s representative. Part of the resolutions of the meeting was for Arik Air to freight all backlog of short-landed baggage to Lagos within 48 hours and also to compensate the passengers with $150 each.
The NCAA, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, while describing the action of Arik Air as a violation of passengers’ rights under the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations noted that the airline had, however, failed to carry out the necessary compensation of the affected passengers as directed by the regulatory agency at the meeting.
“The airline declined to offer care and compensation to the affected passengers, which were unanimously agreed for $150 United States dollars,” said Adurogboye.
“In addition, the airline did not inform the passengers at the soonest practicable time that their checked-in baggage would be offloaded as required by Part 19.7.2 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.
“Consequent upon these, Arik Air Limited has been sanctioned by the NCAA for contravening the provisions of Nig.CARs.
“The following sanctions suffice: Arik Air Limited to pay to the authority, within seven days of receipt of this letter, the sum of N6,000,000.00 being civil penalty for violation of Part.19.7.2 of the Nig.CARs, 2015.
“Arik Air is hereby directed to pay each affected passenger, within 30 days of the date of this letter, the sum of $150 as compensation for inconveniences suffered as a result of delayed arrival of their luggage as required by Part.18.104.22.168 (ii) of the Nig.CARs, 2015.
Meanwhile, heavy harmattan haze that impaired visibility yesterday forced all local airlines to cancel scheduled flight operations from the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
The development compelled most passengers who arrived at the Lagos airport for scheduled flights to resort to commercial buses to get to their destinations Worst hit were travellers on early morning flights between 6.45am to 9am as no flight took off at all from the Lagos airport.
Daily Sun, however, learnt that the poor weather conditions did not just affect flights emanating from the Lagos airport, but those from Abuja, Enugu, Calabar, Owerri and Uyo airports were similarly affected.
Arik, Aero, Air Peace, Azman, Dana and Medview airlines all had their flights either cancelled or delayed. Some passengers, on learning about the poor weather conditions, went to town to hire commercial buses to ferry them home. Passengers going to the South-east and South-south regions of the country readily embraced the bus option.
“The NCAA expects strict compliance with the provisions of Part 19 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) by the airline in future.
“This is to assure all stakeholders that the authority exists to protect their rights at all times and as such any violation of the regulation in that regard will be viewed seriously,” the NCAA added.