The Acting Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA Captain Chris Najomo, has read out a riot act to domestic airline operators, expressing displeasure at the reports of incessant delays, flight disruptions, and schedule changes without adequate notice to passengers.
Captain Najomo, reiterated the need for airlines to improve their services as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo is determined to enforce his five point agenda as mandated by President Bola Tinubu.
He further stated that the current record of flight disruptions, poor customer experience and poor handling of passengers is unacceptable and must be improved upon to satisfy the needs of the passengers.
Hence, airlines “must consider scheduling flights into sunset airports early in the day so as to minimize cancellations as a result of airport closure at sunset and NCAA will ensure that airlines fulfil their obligations to passengers or face sanctions.”
“Airlines must handle persons with reduced mobility properly, with dignity and without discrimination as airlines are mandated to provide facilities for the movement of Persons with reduced mobility and by virtue of the provisions of Nigeria Civil aviation regulations part 19,”
“Similarly airlines are required to provide on their ticket portal a mandatory field for special needs assistance and require their agents to actively ask customers during ticket purchase if they will require assistance” he reiterated.
“Also it is no longer business as usual as errant airlines will be sanctioned appropriately without fear or favor and NCAA has stepped up its surveillance to monitor compliance with a view to fish out violators.”
The Director, Consumer Protection & Public Affairs, Michael Achimugu, emphasised that the Authority will not relent in its commitment to ensure pleasurable travel experience and comfort for air transport passengers. The Airlines present committed to work on all issues raised and make adjustments where necessary.
Meanwhile, the airline operators raised concerns regarding poor airport facilities, single standby generator at the General Aviation Terminal in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, frequent bird strikes, bush burning at Port Harcourt airport in the Niger Delta region.
While reacting, the Director of Airport Operations, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, stated that the agency has observed incidents of bird strikes occurred during grass cutting at the airports and FAAN is working to minimise bird strike incidents.
He further announced that FAAN is also looking into issues that concern airport facilities with a view to finding immediate solutions to ease passenger and baggage flow at the airport which had begun as evident at some terminals.
During a paper presentation by Acting General Manager Flight Operations & Adjudication, Ifueko Abdulmalik revealed that on the provisions of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations 2023 Part 19, dwelt on airline obligations to passengers in events of flight delays, cancellations, schedule changes, baggage delays and loss.
She informed the audience that 53% of total flights operated in Nigeria in 2023 were delayed and 1% cancellations.
According to Ifueko Abdulmalik, it was imperative to have the session so as to inform the airlines of the provisions of the regulations and applicable sanctions.