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FG suspends Turkish Airlines operations in Nigeria over poor passenger treatment

The Federal Government has ordered the suspension of Turkish Airlines’ operations in Nigeria due to “repeated cases of poor passenger treatment.”

But the airline on Friday morning said it had not been notified of the development by the government.

The government gave the directive through the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, ordering the airline to suspend its operations until it is ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that can transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.

It was gathered that the government’s directive came as a result of the recent cases in which the airline failed to bring passengers into Nigeria together with their checked-in baggage.

In a letter to the airline by the Acting Director-General, NCAA, Capt. Abdullahi Sidi, which was made available by the Federal Ministry of Aviation in Abuja on Thursday, the authority expressed serious displeasure over the incidents, which it said had been going on for over two weeks.

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 had been facing serious crises controlling the passengers at the airport whenever they arrived without their baggage.

“This issue had made passengers carry out several mob actions at our airport and it was a great threat to our airport facilities.

“In view of all these, and a series of meetings held with the Turkish Airlines’ personnel, which did not yield any solution to this problem, the NCAA is therefore left with no option than to direct Turkish Airlines to suspend its operations into Nigeria until such a time when the airline is ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that can transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.

“If no remedial action is carried out by your airline, this suspension shall be effective from the 16th of December, 2019.”

Many passengers had in the past complained about the harsh treatment they received from Turkish Airlines.

A passenger who witnessed the airline’s poor treatment last Sunday, for instance, commended the Federal Government for sanctioning the carrier.

Reacting to the decision by the government to suspend the operations of the airline in Nigeria, the passenger, who identified himself as Lucky, said, “Nice one. I experienced it on Sunday night.

“Thank God I was able to get my bags on Monday night.”

When contacted on Friday morning, an official of the carrier in its Lagos office, who simply gave her name as Rlinda, said the airline had not been notified of the suspension and was still operating unhindered.

She said. “I’m sorry but up till now there is no notification from the authority and everything is going on normally. So there is no notification for any cancellation up till now.”

When told that the NCAA said in its letter said it would suspend the operations of the carrier in Nigeria, the Rlinda replied, “Yea, but no notification for this situation and up till now we don’t have any.

“Maybe we might have it, but right now we don’t have such notification.”

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