Arik Faults NCAA Over N6million Fine

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By Sadiq Umar – Nigeria’s largest Airline operator, Arik Air, on Wednesday faulted what it called “unprofessional” act of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in levying a N6million fine against it.

Arik Air, in a statement accused NCAA of publicising the letter detailing the N6 million fine levy before it could respond.

Public Relations Manager of Arik Adebanji Ola, in a statement said the letter was made public before the expiration of the deadline given.

NCAA had on Tuesday slammed, the Nigerian Carrier, Arik Air with a fine of N6 million as compensation to passengers who luggage were dropped in its recent trip from London to Lagos.

NCAA’s General Manager (Public Relations), Mr. Sam Adurogboye announced the fine in a statement issued Tuesday in Lagos.

The statement issued by NCAA referred to a Letter of Sanction dated December 22, 2016, it wrote with reference no. NCAA/DG/CSLA/RM/1, stressing that Arik Air Limited has acted in violation of Part 19.7.2 and 19.17.2.1 (ii) of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015.

Consequently, it ordered the airline to pay $150 to each of the affected passengers as compensation for the inconvenience they experienced within 30 days of the letter.

The customers have complained of delay and failure to carry their Luggage from London to Lagos from December from 2, 3 to 4, 2016.

“The carrier declined to offer care and compensation to the affected passengers which were unanimously agreed for $150,” it stated.

Adding: “In addition, the airline did not inform the passengers at the soonest practicable time that their checked-in baggage would be off-loaded as required by Part 19.7.2 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), 2015’”.

The agency restated that the airline also flouted its orders to freight all backlog of short-landed luggage to Lagos within 48 hours, which was given during a meeting which held December 6, 2016, and duly attended by the airlines’ representative.

But Arik faulted the decision, saying it had earlier notified the affected passengers of the problems encountered by the airline.

“All passengers checking in from London were given a letter informing them of the capacity limitation and weight restriction on this aircraft type and advised that some of their baggage would be delayed because of this and transported on the next available flight with capacity. All passengers were accepted on to the flight based on this understanding.

“However, after arriving in Lagos some of them formed pressure groups and took the laws into their own hands disrupting the operations of the airline, assaulting the airline’s employees and destroying its property,” the statement said.

The airline also alleged that some of its employees were beaten and hospitalised, and that the passengers disrupted its operations.

“However, some of the passengers disrupted our operations for several days thereby making it impossible for the aircraft to operate from Lagos and return from London Heathrow before the night curfew, further preventing the short landed bags from being recovered,” the airline said.

Similarly, the airline alleged that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) security did nothing to prevent the passengers from disrupting the airline’s operations by providing adequate security to the airline and its personnel to enable the flights to leave on time. It added that their actions prevented a quicker resolution in the recovery of baggage.

“Some FAAN security personnel were also encouraging passengers to disrupt checking-in process and seated themselves on top of Arik Air check-in counters.”

Last week, staff of Arik embarked on strike, owing to non-payment of seven month salaries. The development paralyzed activities of the airline in its Abuja and Lagos offices, leaving many passengers stranded.

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