NCAA to sanction airlines displaying ‘deceitful’ departure time, rights violations



Airlines engaging in deceitful departure time scheduling knowing that they would not be flying at that risk sanctions according to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The regulatory body alleged that some operators mainly attract passengers rushing for early engagements and end up disappointed due to delays or flight cancellations.

Recently, airline passengers have complained of some commercial airlines scheduling flights when no planes are available. This has led to arbitrary delays, merging of flights or at worst, total cancellations of flights.

Reacting to this ugly trend, the director, of consumer protection and public affairs of NCAA, Michael Achimugu said the agency has engaged airlines repeatedly in this aspect.

He further noted that the acting director general of the NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo has directed that henceforth, the authority will monitor the activities of these airlines and sanction anyone found going against aviation roles.

According to him, “Recall that when the current NCAA acting director general assumed office, he made sure that there was ease of doing business. Right now, the time of getting AOC is quite shorter and easier compared to years ago.

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“Therefore, the NCAA expects reciprocity from operators, chief of them being to provide world-class services to passengers. If the NCAA is making it easier for operators to work, it is expected that passengers will be satisfied.

“Lately, it has been observed that there are some infractions. Some airlines are been reported to be advertising deceitful departure times. The NCAA regulations, especially part 19 that states that “no airline shall display deceitful time on counter or its website.”

“We want to make it very clear that the DG CAA has instructed officers and other inspectors to begin to monitor the activities of airlines in this regard and defaulters are going to face serious sanctions. Let it be clear that Capt. Chris Najomo believes in discipline, safety and economic regulations. This is evident in the recent suspension of ten PFC holders for failure to comply with recertification of their licenses.”

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He also warned that the NCAA will go after airlines who refuse to refund passengers after cancellations of flights.

He explained that the standard role of airline operations is that payments made in cash are refunded over the counter immediately while payments made through transfers or other online transactions are refunded within two weeks and noted that anything outside of these, will no longer be acceptable.

According to him, “Another issue we want to address today is the issue of time frame for refunds and compensations. The regulation states that if a passenger has made payment while securing tickets by cash, the passenger must be refunded by cash immediately at the terminal. We have stated this over time.

“Some airlines comply, while others don’t. The regulations also said that if a passenger has made payment for tickets online or via transfer, the airline has 14 working days to make a refund. There is a lot of default in this regard and the consumer protection department has made a lot of progress in educating the airlines and passengers and even ensures refunds which have attracted the commendation of the minister of aviation and aerospace development, Festus Keyamo. However, we have more work to do here to ensure full compliance by airlines.”

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On the suspended private jets licences, the NCAA maintained that the ten airlines were suspended for failing to come for recertification and discussions are ongoing to address their challenges, while urging the public to be patient and wait for the outcome of the process.

Wole Shadare

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