The Federal Government has approved multiple flight operations for
foreign carriers to facilitate movements during the festive peak
The move, The Guardian learned, was informed by difficulties in
passenger and cargo air transport during the high-traffic yuletide
season. Passengers, especially Nigerians coming home for Christmas and
New Year, often travel with excess baggage that does overwhelm the
airlines’ operating equipment.
The Director of Consumer Protection, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority
(NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, yesterday, confirmed the approval, saying it
was to ensure that operating carriers accommodate as many passengers
and luggage as possible.
“The International airlines, especially the African carriers, come
into this country with B737 and B737. Even if it is the 800 series, it
will not carry much luggage. Nigerians travel-heavy; you see one
passenger-carrying 20 bags, and he wants to travel along with his bags
as checked-in luggage. Even if you charge him excess, he will pay to
make sure he travels with his baggage coupled with the weight and
space constraints. So, the way around it is to ensure that whatever
additional flights these airlines ask for, they get,” Abdullahi said.
Already, African airlines like Royal Air Maroc, Egypt Air and some
others have been granted permission to operate additional flights and
use wide-bodied to cater to their passengers.
Abdullahi said the NCAA is in the forefront of ensuring that the
Ministry of Aviation grants the request so that passengers could have
their luggage in time, and avoid the commotion that usually occur when
their luggage does not accompany them.
With the concession granted to the airlines, Abdullahi was optimistic
that the arrangement would be solid enough to nip any ugly situation
in the bud.
“We pray that this time around, we are going to see the better
arrangement, and we have taken all the necessary steps to make sure
that it doesn’t deteriorate like last year.”
He, however, appealed to the passengers to exercise restraints when
the issue of delayed luggage occurs, and allow the concerned
authorities to resolve the matter. He said the Consumer Protection
Department (CPD) is always there at the airport to ensure that their
rights are not infringed upon.
“It is better for passengers to also be responsible. We will still
appeal that the passengers, though, they have rights, but they also
have responsibilities. They should abide by the rules and regulations
that govern their behaviour in the airport environment.”
Abdullahi also urged the airline operators that in as much as the
authority understands their predicament, the NCAA would not tolerate
ill-treatment of passengers like denying them their rights to know
what is going on.
“The airlines also have responsibilities. In as much as we will do our
very best to shield you from passengers, we also must appeal to all
the airlines to do the needful.
“We will continue to appeal to the airlines; carry your passengers
along. Let them know the problems you have; let them be part of the
problem, and let them be part of the solution. That way, things will
be better for all of us.”