NCAA warns airlines against flight cancellations

ncaa-airport-aviation 20m JET A1 laden ship berths in Lagos

In an effort to check the excesses of airline operators and reduce the suffering of travellers, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned all airlines in the country not to do anything that could stop the airlifting of any air traveller that has duly booked to travel on its flight as scheduled.

The agency also warned that any airline operator that denied any passenger who had genuinely booked to travel by way of cancellation would face the appropriate penalties.

NCAA’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, who made the position of the agency known yesterday in an interview with The Guardian while reacting to reports of suffering some air travellers faced at the weekend following abrupt cancellation of their scheduled flights on the excuse of scarcity of aviation fuel, denied reports that the agency is not performing its duty of protecting the rights of passengers.

He stressed that the rights, safety and security of passengers are of great importance to the agency, warning that no airline, whether domestic or international, should attempt to test the will of the regulator, especially on issues like these.

He charged any traveller who fell victim of this act not to hesitate to make formal report to the agency, promising a swift intervention in such a complaint, adding that those who had petitioned the agency in the past had got their cases looked into.

Meanwhile, relief will from today come the way of airline operators, air travellers and all others as the scarcity of aviation fuel which had hit the sector for about one week will begin to ease following the berth yesterday at Apapa of a ship laden with the commodity.

This was disclosed to The Guardian yesterday in an interview by the Executive Secretary of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Obafemi Olawore, who assured that by today, at least two marketers would have been supplied the products from the port for onward distribution to various depots across the airports in the country.

Olawore, who put the volume of the commodity being discharged at 20 million litres, further disclosed that another ship of the same quantity would berth before the end of next week.

The Executive Secretary blamed the shortage of JET A1 on the priority placed on addressing the scarcity of petrol at the expense of aviation fuel.

The scarcity of the product had forced most airlines in the country to resort to flight delay and outright cancellation, a development that had subjected many air travellers, local and foreign, to untold suffering.

Many air travellers at the weekend had their flights cancelled due to the scarcity of aviation fuel. Some airlines, which spoke with The Guardian, said they started to have problem in the supply of the fuel since Easter but were merely trying to cope.

The spokesperson for Arik Air, Ola Adebanji, said the airline had been battling with shortage of the commodity since one week, which he said, had led to delay in flights and sometimes, outright cancellation of flights.

Medview Airline’s spokesman, Obuke Oyibuotha, also admitted that the airline had been having challenges with JET A1 but said that the carrier had been managing the situation but had not degenerated to flight cancellation.

The NCAA has allayed fear of sharp practice that could lead to supply of adulterated or contaminated aviation fuel in the face of the scarcity.

According Adurogboye, the issue of adulterated or contaminated fuel is not very common in the sector, adding that NCAA is working in collaboration with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure that only standard and un-adulterated fuel is supplied to the airlines.

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