Council summons Arik over alleged baggage delay, rights abuse
Following complaints of alleged ill-treatment by passengers of recent London-Lagos Arik Air flights, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), has summoned the management of the airline to appear before it to provide facts relating to the allegations.
The summon, which was issued by the Council on Wednesday, called on the airline’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, the Chief Operating Officer, Conor Prendergast, and the Managing Director, Chris Ndulue, to appear before the Council on Monday, December 19, 2016.
According to the summon, the Council disclosed that it received “complaints/information from the public and passengers on board Arik Air flights from London to Lagos between December 2 and 5, 2016, alleging that the flights arrived Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, without the passengers’ luggage and without prior information”.
The Council further stated that “the said passengers, many of whom had connecting flights to Cameroun, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan could not continue their journeys as a result of the non-arrival of their luggage from London, while some passengers on the said flights could not have access to personal supplies, baby food or medication.
“Arik Air Ltd did not provide the passengers with temporary accommodation for transit; neither was there any customer service desk to assist the passengers in resolving their individual complaints”, the Council stated.
CPC added that it had issued the summon in line with Sections 8, 15 and 18 of its enabling Act.
But Arik blamed the development on the use of a smaller aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, to operate the Lagos-London Heathrow route due to maintenance on the wide-body A330-200 aircraft allocated on the route.
Spokesperson of Arik Air, Banji Ola, explained that of the airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft had been hit by a handling company at John F Kennedy International Airport New York on Thursday, December 1, 2016 consequently triggering the B737-800 to be deployed on the Lagos-London route.
Ola said: “In order to avoid cancellation of the Lagos-London Heathrow flights, an alternative B737-800 aircraft had to be allocated on the route to minimise the inconvenience to booked passengers.
“The airline was constrained in capacity from a wide-body A330-200 aircraft to a narrow-body B737-800 aircraft and thus had to leave some of the passengers’ baggage behind in London.
“Passengers were, however, duely informed of this capacity restriction at the check-in desk at London Heathrow Airport and were advised of the possibility that some of their baggage will have to be sent on subsequent flights as per space availability.
“Arik Air offers the most generous in-cabin and checked in baggage allowance on the route and due to capacity restrictions on the smaller B737-800 aircraft, the airline has had to drop some of the baggage in order to accommodate maximum number of passengers.”