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FG okays multiple flights for foreign airlines during yuletide

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The Federal Government has approved multiple flight operations for foreign carriers to facilitate movements during the festive peak period.

The move, The Guardian learned, was informed by difficulties in passenger and cargo air transport during the high-traffic yuletide season. Passengers, especially Nigerians coming home for Christmas and New Year, often travel with excess baggage that does overwhelm the airlines’ operating equipment.

The Director of Consumer Protection, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, yesterday, confirmed the approval, saying it was to ensure that operating carriers accommodate as many passengers and luggage as possible.

“The International airlines, especially the African carriers, come into this country with B737 and B737. Even if it is the 800 series, it will not carry much luggage. Nigerians travel-heavy; you see one passenger-carrying 20 bags, and he wants to travel along with his bags as checked-in luggage. Even if you charge him excess, he will pay to make sure he travels with his baggage coupled with the weight and space constraints. So, the way around it is to ensure that whatever additional flights these airlines ask for, they get,” Abdullahi said.

Already, African airlines like Royal Air Maroc, Egypt Air and some others have been granted permission to operate additional flights and use wide-bodied to cater to their passengers.

Abdullahi said the NCAA is in the forefront of ensuring that the Ministry of Aviation grants the request so that passengers could have their luggage in time, and avoid the commotion that usually occur when their luggage does not accompany them.

With the concession granted to the airlines, Abdullahi was optimistic that the arrangement would be solid enough to nip any ugly situation in the bud.

“We pray that this time around, we are going to see the better arrangement, and we have taken all the necessary steps to make sure that it doesn’t deteriorate like last year.”

He, however, appealed to the passengers to exercise restraints when the issue of delayed luggage occurs, and allow the concerned authorities to resolve the matter. He said the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) is always there at the airport to ensure that their rights are not infringed upon.

“It is better for passengers to also be responsible. We will still appeal that the passengers, though, they have rights, but they also have responsibilities. They should abide by the rules and regulations that govern their behaviour in the airport environment.”
 
Abdullahi also urged the airline operators that in as much as the authority understands their predicament, the NCAA would not tolerate ill-treatment of passengers like denying them their rights to know what is going on.

“The airlines also have responsibilities. In as much as we will do our very best to shield you from passengers, we also must appeal to all the airlines to do the needful.

“We will continue to appeal to the airlines; carry your passengers along. Let them know the problems you have; let them be part of the problem, and let them be part of the solution. That way, things will be better for all of us.”


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