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NCAA Threatens Unruly Passengers with Prosecution

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), on Sunday warned passengers it described as irate and belligerent, carrying out attacks on airline officials, to desist forthwith or face criminal charges.

The NCAA issued the warning in a statement signed by its General Manager, Public Relations, Sam Adurogboye, in Lagos.

Mr. Adurogboye said the warning became necessary due to preponderance of reports from some of the nation’s airports detailing brutal attacks on officials of airlines.

According to him, these attacks are embarrassing and discourteous to such affected officials.

“The NCAA undoubtedly recognises that the operating airlines must at all times uphold the conditions of carriage and contract on each passenger’s ticket.

“This means that all passengers are conferred with inalienable rights when they are travelling by air, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part 19).

“It prescribes minimum rights for air travellers on the occurrence of any of the following– no show and overbooking of flight, denied boarding, delay and cancellation of flights.

“These rights shall apply without prejudice to a passenger’s right under any applicable law or contract,” he said.

Mr. Adurogboye, however, said passengers were not expected to take laws into their hands, if and when there were operational hiccups capable of truncating air services.

He noted that all over the world, overbooking, denied boarding, delay and cancellations similarly occur in extraneous circumstances.

“As contained in Part 19.7.2, airlines have the obligation to inform passengers on cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.

“Also in Part 19.7.3, an operating airline shall not be obliged to pay compensation for cancellation, if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances.’’

He further cited the part by saying that such extraordinary circumstances must be such that could not have been avoided, even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

“Part 19.7.4, says the burden of proof concerning any question as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating airline.”

The NCAA spokesperson said it therefore meant that passengers should be guided that cancellations and any aforementioned scenarios could occur beyond the control of the airline in certain situations.

He said when passengers were aggrieved; Part 19.20 states that a passenger may lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Directorate, or any other competent person designated by the authority for an alleged infringement.

“It is on record that the Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) has handled and resolved several cases from aggrieved passengers to their satisfaction.

“Therefore, the authority expects aggrieved passengers to recourse to the platform provided by NCAA to file their complaints and seek redress or compensation as the case may be.

“Subsequently, any passenger found carrying out attacks on airline officials will face criminal prosecution.

“The NCAA is statutorily empowered to provide an enabling environment for safe and secure air transportation.

“It will, however, not allow any airline official’s life to be ridiculed publicly or endangered.”

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Aero Contractors gets NCAA Approval for C-check Maintenance

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Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, has received certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to handle C-checks on Boeing B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director of Aero Contractors, made this known while briefing newsmen on yesterday in Lagos.

Sanusi said the NCAA approval that takes effect from Sept. 2 was given to the Aero Contractors’ Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

”This represents for us a significant achievement and is a major instrument for our turn-around efforts. This feat has benefits far beyond Aero Contractors.

”The fact that C-check on the B737 Classic can now be performed in Nigeria by Aero Contractors will reflect directly in significant drop in maintenance cost for airlines in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as reduction in downtime for such checks.”

Explaining further, he said that a normal C-check cost between $1.8 million to $2 million outside the country, adding that performing it in Nigeria would reduce the demand for foreign exchange as airlines could now pay in Naira.

“So, it is a very positive development for Nigerian airlines and the Nigerian aviation industry because it will improve the ease of doing business,” Sanusi added.

He disclosed that the airline spent N60 million to renovate and expand the MRO facility which had been in existence for over 50 years in order to meet the required local and international standards.

According to him, the airline has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international partners, including the maintenance unit of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Technik, to render assistance on the C-checks. Sanusi said that domestic airlines alone operate about 22 B737 Classics, stressing that the facility would have a viable market.

“We want to appeal to the Federal Government to give us the Free Trade Zone status. “We want to have free access to import tools and aircraft spares without hindrances from Customs when our demand increases,” he said.

The Aero boss commended the NCAA for its professionalism and encouragement during the certification process.

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Construction: FAAN Advises Passengers on How to Meet Up with Flights

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified passengers and other airport users that the Lagos State Government has commenced the reconstruction of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Lagos

The project which would last for 15 months is aimed at expanding the road for better service to users.

Appealing for understanding from all while the project last, Yakubu Henrietta, general manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN, urged passengers and other airport users plying the road to always leave their homes earlier than usual, so as to be able to get to the airport in good time and also avoid missing their flights.

Specifically, the design of the project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to three-lane Expressway on both directions, construction of two-lane Service Road in both directions, construction of Ramp Bridge to provide a U-turn from Ajao Estate to Airport, construction of a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and drainage works.

Others include the removal of existing Pedestrian Bridge at Ajao Estate and construction of Pedestrian Bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp, construction of Slip Road to provide access to Ajao Estate, construction of Lay-bys and installation of Street Lights, among others.

“Meanwhile, security agencies and other traffic officers have been mobilized to ensure that road users and passengers have relatively hitch free passage while the road is under construction.

“The Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the construction on the road users while the project last”, she said.

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US May Bar Nigerian Airlines over Safety Concerns

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United States federal aviation administration has given Nigerian airlines a 65-day ultimatum to resolve specified security issues or risk being barred from flying to its country.

A team of US FAA officials who recently carried out an audit for the renewal of Nigeria’s category one safety status gave the ultimatum on August 24.

The US FAA periodically check foreign airports with which it has bilateral agreements to ensure they meet set standards.

The checks include having effective and efficient aviation regulations, operational state civil aviation systems and safety oversight functions and technical personnel qualification and training.

Others include the provision of technical guidance, tools, provision of safety-critical information, licensing, certification, authorisation and approval obligations.

John Ojikutu, member of aviation industry think tank, Aviation Round Table (ART) and CEO of Centurion Securities, told BusinessDay that he doubts if Nigeria can attain the category one safety status without having its major airports certified.

Ojikutu said airport certification is compliant to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (NCAR) Part 12.6.4, which carries obligations on the operator to continuously maintain standards and competence in operation and ensuring availability of skilled manpower in sufficient numbers, for the periodic maintenance of the facilities and the system.

“Many stakeholders would probably be asking; what is the necessity for the certification when the industry was already classified category one?” he said.

“What many do not know, however, is that the classification of Nigeria as Category one, was meant only for the NCAA Regulations and oversight competence, the way university academic programs are rated or accredited by the Nigeria Universities Commission (NUC).

“Unfortunately, the NCAA is like a university that has been long accredited but has not been able to graduate a student. The NCAA, in spite of its category one status classification in 2010 and even today in 2017 after its reclassification, has not been able to give certification to a single airport among the over 28 federal and state airports in the country.”

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