According to the NCAA, the refundable deportation fee that the airline charges passengers without valid South African visa or a return ticket is illegal and unauthorised.
The NCAA said it had received complaints that all South Africa-bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines were being compelled to pay between $75 and $150 before boarding.
The NCAA said in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, that its investigation found that all outbound passengers to South Africa from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, were liable to pay $75 or $150 if their transiting time was 24 hours.
The regulator said that while passengers were not given prior notice concerning these charges before arriving at the airports, some were made to sign undertaken to be responsible for all expenses incurred if deported.
“Consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ country management was summoned by the NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported. The regulatory authority has found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of extant regulations,” Adurogboye said.
He added that according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 18.4.1(iii), all air carriers must obtain approval from the NCAA to introduce or increase add-on charges or surcharges prior to implementation.
He said, “Till date, the authority has not received any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline. On this strength, Ethiopian Airlines has been ordered to stop with immediate effect these illegal charges.
“The airline could take advantage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CAR) and obtain necessary approvals from the authority if it has genuine grounds to increase fares or obtain tariffs.”