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Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, twitted on Saturday a photo of a Turkish plane that landed in Abuja on the same day. It’s a bigger aircraft than the usual one the airline has always used for its Nigerian flights, showing that the pressure of the government is working/Hadi Sirika/Twitter

Nigeria spares Turkish Airlines from suspension, warns all foreign airlines

Turkish Airlines will not have their operating licence suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as earlier speculated, but they have been warned to improve on their services. Aviation minister has also sounded a note of warning to all other airlines operating in Nigeria.

The Acting Director-General of the NCAA, Abdullahi Sidi who confirmed this to Channels Television said the aviation authority is meeting with the airline’s management to push them to do the right thing.

The NCAA had earlier issued the airline a warning over its use of small aircraft in Nigeria as well as not bringing passengers into Nigeria with their checked-in luggage.

According to Sidi, suspending the airline’s license will cause a lot of hardship for many Nigerians who have booked flights on the carrier.

The government’s anger with Turkish Airlines came as a result of recent cases in which the carrier failed to bring in passengers into Nigeria together with their checked-in baggage.

Sidi said the incidents had become so bad that most recent Turkish Airlines flights arrived in Nigeria without more than 85 per cent of passengers’ baggage on board.

He said, “Our airport authority has been facing a serious crisis controlling the passengers at the airport whenever they arrive without their baggage. This issue has made passengers to carry out several mob actions at our airports and it is a great threat to our airport facilities.”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, has warned foreign airline operators to learn from the experiences of Turkish Airlines and stop treating Nigerian travellers with disdain.

Mr Sirika gave the warning on Saturday in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs in the ministry, Mr James Odaudu.

The Minister, while reacting to the threat meted out to Turkish Airlines by the NCAA, declared that no foreign airlines will be tolerated if they fail to give Nigerian travellers better flying experience.

Sirika affirmed that Turkish airlines had been notorious for their ‘shabby’ treatment of Nigerian travellers, and had the warning not issued, the operators won’t have flown into Abuja with a bigger aircraft.

“Following the threat by the nation’s aviation regulators to ban its operations in Nigeria, Turkish Airlines last night flew into Abuja with a bigger aircraft A330 as against the usual smaller B737.

“Officials of the airline, alarmed by the prospect of losing their Nigerian market, had rushed into a meeting with the Nigerian authorities to pledge total commitment and compliance with the conditions given to them in order to continue their operations in the Country.

“Turkish Airlines have been notorious for their shabby treatment of Nigerian travellers over time, especially when they have to arrive their destinations without their checked-in luggage. This has always given rise to security issues at the airports with protests by affected passengers,” he stressed.

However, he stated that the airline has now shown commitment to improving its treatment of Nigerian travellers by operating into the Nation’s capital with a bigger and more comfortable aircraft.

Kola Tella

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