By Chukwuemeka Iwelunmo
Worried by a flurry of cancellations and delayed flights by domestic airlines, the Acting Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Chris Najomo, has read the riots act to the operators.
Najomo chided the airlines, expressing displeasure at the alarming reports of incessant delays, flight disruptions, and schedule changes without adequate notice to passengers.
The NCAA boss reiterated the need for airlines to improve their services as the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo (SAN) is determined to enforce his five-inkpoint agenda as mandated by the president.
Capt. Najomo described as unacceptable the current trend of flight disruptions, poor customer experience and poor handling of passengers, saying the narratives must change without further delay.
He chargee the airlines to rejig their flight schedules to match the number of serviceable aircraft in their fleet, observing that all the airlines are aware of the airports that have sunset operations.
According to him, airlines must consider scheduling flights into sunset airports early in the day so as to minimise cancellations as a result of airport closure at sunset.
Capt. Najomo stressed that NCAA will ensure that airlines fulfil their obligations to passengers or face sanctions.
“Airlines must handle persons with reduced mobility properly, with dignity and without discrimination as airlines are mandated to provide facilities for the movement of persons with reduced mobility. By virtue of the provisions of Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations Part 19, airlines are required to provide on their ticket portal a mandatory field for special needs assistance and require their agents to actively ask customers during ticket purchase if they will require assistance” he reiterated.
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The DG said, “it is no longer business as usual as errant airlines will be sanctioned appropriately without fear or favour” noting that NCAA has stepped up its surveillance to monitor compliance with a view to fishing out violators.
However, some of the airlines raised concerns about poor airport facilities, and the single standby generator at the General Aviation Terminal in Lagos.
They also cited frequent bird strikes, bush burning, congested boarding gates as some of the factors responsible for disruptions in their flight schedules.