FG WARNS FOREIGN AIRLINES ON SHABBY TREATMENT OF NIGERIANS

The federal government has issued a stern warning to airlines, both domestic and foreign who treat Nigerians shabbily especially on international operations assuring them of dire consequences should they be discovered.

The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator HadiSirika, who handed down this warning recently in Abujaassured the delegation of the Emirates Group that visited him in his office that the ongoing construction of the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport Terminal will be completed and ready by this year’s ending.

According to the Aviation Minister, government cannot continue to condone the practice of subjecting Nigerians to all forms of hardship either by making them walk long distances before boarding or using small aircrafts that would not carry them along with their luggage to their destinations.

Sirika informed the delegation that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been directed to invoke all relevant laws to protect the interest and rights of Nigerians and others from being flagrantly abused by airlines operating in the country.

He however, assured the operators of the federal government’s commitment to the complete overhaul and upgrading of the nation’s airport facilities that would make the use of Nigeria’s airspace a delightful experience.

On the on-going construction of the second terminal at the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport in Abuja, the Minister gave the assurance that it will be ready before the end of the year, stating that its completion would improve the comfort and convenience of both airline operators and the flying public.

Addressing the Minister earlier, the Vice President,Aeropolitical and Industry Affairs, Emirate Group, Mr. David Broz, congratulated the Minister on his appointment and pledged  the Group’s commitment to serve Nigeria better  being their second biggest market in Africa.He commended the Nigerian government on the efforts to upgrade facilities at its airports and promised to maintain the great relationship between the Group and Nigeria which has ensured their smooth operations in the country.In a related development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has threatened to mete out sanctions on any airline that increases its airfare arbitrarily without filing the proposed add-on charges with the regulatory authority for approval.

The NCAA, in a statement signed by the General Manger Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, warned all carriers operating in Nigeria to desist from arbitrarily increasing miscellaneous charges on ticket payment content without the Authority’s approval.

According to the law, when approving any application for an add-on charge or surcharge related to fuel, the NCAA is required to take into account, changes in prices of aviation fuel, the relevant hedging policies of the air carrier, the justifications provided by the air carrier and other relevant factors.

The industry regulator is also to ensure that the revenue so generated would not exceed the additional fuel costs borne by the airline operators during the corresponding period.

The statement said that with immediate effect, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) directed that all airlines should file any proposed add-on charges, surcharges or other miscellaneous charges with the Regulatory Authority.

According to the procedure for filing such add-on charges, all justifiable reasons for increment must be adduced in accordance with Parts 18.14.3.1 and 18.14.3.2.(i-iii) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig. CARs) which relates to the approval of charges on all flights within Nigeria or originating from Nigeria to international routes as contained in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, (Nig.CARs) 18.14.3.1.

“In requesting for approval of any add-on charges or surcharge, an air carrier is required to provide justifiable basis for the proposed increment with a consideration of all relevant factors including a new linear rationalisation for the specific aggregated costs sought to be recovered and consumer interests,” the statement added. Giving details, it said, section 18.14.3.2 of the document stipulates that “when approving any application for an add-on charge or surcharge related to fuel, the Authority shall:

(i)   Take into account changes in prices of aviation fuel, the relevant hedging policies of the air carrier, the justifications provided by the air carrier and other relevant factors;

(ii)  Ensure that the revenue so generated would not exceed the additional fuel costs borne by the airline operators during the corresponding period; and

(iii)  Approve on a short term basis, not exceeding a period of two (2) months in each instance.

The NCAA image maker therefore ordered all operators to desist forthwith from any add-on charge, surcharge or any other miscellaneous added on passenger tickets without regulatory approval or face dire consequences.