The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has intervened in the rift between Arik and some of its passengers over the failure of the airline to bring in their luggage from London Heathrow since Friday, December 2.
In a letter by the NCAA to Arik, the airline was given a 48-hour ultimatum within which the backlog of all short landed luggage must be ferried to Lagos.
The regulator stated in the letter, “The NCAA has also in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations 2015, part 19, directed that all passengers with short landed baggage must be offered care and compensation in line with part 19. 17. 2.1 (b) of the regulation.
“A compliance report, including but not limited to the list of affected passengers and details of passengers handling should be forwarded to the authority within 96 hours from the receipt of the letter from the authority.”
The NCAA also enjoined passengers to exercise restraint while dealing with such challenging issues at airports.
“Flight delays are normal occurrences in aviation and rather than resort to violence, passengers are assured of the readiness of the NCAA to continue to protect the rights and privileges of all stakeholders within the ambit of the law so as to ensure safety and security of the aviation industry,” it stated in a statement by its spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye.
The Consumer Protection Council also on Wednesday issued a notice summoning the management of Arik Air to appear before it to provide facts relating to allegations of violation of passengers’ rights
The summons, according to the spokesperson for the council, Mr. Biodun Obimuyiwa, followed complaints of ill-treatment by passengers of the airline’s London-Abuja flight.
He said the summons, which was issued by the CPC on Wednesday, was aimed at inviting the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ikhide; Chief Operating Officer, Conor Prendergast; and Managing Director, Chris Ndulue, to appear before it on Monday, December 19, 2016.
Obimuyiwa said, “The council received complaints from the public and passengers on board Arik Air flights from London to Lagos between the 2nd and 5th of December, 2016 alleging that the flights arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, without the passengers’ luggage and without prior information.
“The passengers, many of whom had connecting flights to Cameroon, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan, could not continue their journey as a result of the non-arrival of their luggage from London, while some passengers on the flights could not have access to personal supplies, baby food and medication.
“Arik Air Limited did not provide the passengers with temporary accommodation for transit, neither was there any customer service desk to assist the passengers in resolving their individual complaints.”
He said the summons was in line with sections 8, 15 and 18 of the CPC enabling Act.
The experience of the Arik Air passengers is similar to those of Turkish Airlines last December in which passengers on the airline’s Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja could not have access to their luggage for many days.
The development had prompted the CPC to demand for a situation report on the incident.
However, the refusal of Turkish Airlines to respond to the council’s summons and the ultimatum of the Attorney General of the Federation to the airline on the same request led to the criminal prosecution of the airline and two of its principal officers.