Ethiopian Airlines defends deportation charges from Nigerian passengers
Ethiopian Airlines yesterday defended its “refundable deportation fees” being collected from Nigerian passengers. The airlines’ General Manager in Nigeria, Solomon Begashaw denied the claims that the charges were “unauthorised fees” and an attempt to exploit Nigerians.
He said the added fees that ranged from $75 to $150 per passenger was to cover the travellers’ expenses in case they were denied entry and returned to Nigeria.
Begashaw blamed the decision on the extra charges by South Africa on passengers’ travelling to Johannesburg. According to him, the decision was taken following the passengers’ denial to enter into South Africa by the immigration authorities for various reasons.
“These passengers included those who had been inconvenienced during their stay at Johannesburg Airport before they were returned back to their airport of departure.
“They were asked to deposit the mentioned amount to cover their incidental expenses in case they were denied entry. This amount has always been refunded to the passengers when they had been allowed entry into South Africa,” he said.
Begashaw added that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) informed them about customers’ complaints against the extra charges. He said: “We are discussing with the authorities on how best to handle the matter through the diplomatic channels between Nigerian and South African governments in the spirit of African brotherhood.”
The manager reiterated the airlines’ commitment to Nigeria, recalling that Ethiopian Airlines had served the people for the past 57 years and had proved to be a partner in progress.
Begashaw cited the airlines commitment to Nigeria when only Ethiopian Airline agreed to fly to Kaduna recently when other foreign airlines refused to do so.
But the NCAA has faulted the charges, describing them as unauthorised and illegal. Its Spokesperson, Sam Adurogboye, said NCAA ordered the airlines to stop the collection of any unauthorised charges forthwith.