NCAA summons Arik Air over flight delays
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has summoned the management of Arik Air to a meeting over the alleged poor treatment of passengers on its flights in recent times.
The NCAA, in a statement on Sunday, accused the airline of delaying passengers on its Flight W3 077 to Freetown and Banjul for more than 14 hours.
The statement, signed by the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Fan Ndubuoke, stated that the summons followed several complaints it received from the affected passengers about the alleged poor treatment.
It said, 'This meeting is consequent upon several complaints received by the Directorate of Consumer Protection of the NCAA from passengers, who were scheduled for Arik Air's combined service to Freetown and Banjul on Friday, May 2, 2014.
'The flight scheduled for 8am was delayed till 10am but was later rescheduled to 12noon. The departure was again moved to 3pm with verbal notification from the airline officials.
'At 3pm, there was an announcement that the flight had been further delayed for one hour 'due to operational reasons.' At 4pm, the anxious passengers were once again informed of a further delay to 9:35pm.'
The statement explained that at that stage, the NCAA's consumer protection officers, who were on ground, had to intervene and that made the airline to serve the passengers light refreshments at 6:07pm.
'When it became clear that the flight would not depart at 9.35pm, the passengers, who had become enraged, took over the boarding gates, thereby preventing the commencement of boarding of another Arik Air service Flight W3 103 to Johannesburg,' it added.
The statement explained that NCAA's CPD officers had a hard time restoring order before Flight W3 077 (FNA/BJL) eventually departed at 11.46pm.
Another Arik Flight W3 792 from Ibadan to Abuja was similarly delayed at the Ibadan airport on May 3, 2014.
The flight was to depart at 3.15pm but it did not leave Ibadan until 6.25pm.
Arik Air officials said calls had earlier been put across to all passengers on the flight to inform them of the rescheduled time of departure, but the passengers reportedly denied receiving such calls.
According to the statement, all attempts by the NCAA's Consumer Protection Office to prevail on the airline's officials to provide refreshments for the passengers were declined.
'Consequent upon the above, the NCAA has summoned the management of Arik Air to explain the circumstances that led to the long delay of the service. This is to also determine whether the airline complied with the requirements of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations in the treatment of the passengers on these flights,' the agency explained.
The NCAA assured passengers that as the regulatory body for aviation in the country, it would continue to ensure that the safety and comfort of air travellers were not compromised by any airline and other aviation service providers.