By Sade Williams
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has waded into the rift between Arik and its passengers over the failure of the airline to ferry their baggage from London Heathrow, since Friday 2nd December 2016.
Consequently, a letter to the effect has been issued by the Authority to Arik Airlines.
In it, the airline has been given 48 hours within which the backlog of all short landed baggage must be ferried into Lagos.
Similarly, NCAA has also in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) 2015, part 19, directed that all passengers with short landed baggage MUST be offered CARE and compensation in line with part 19. 17. 2.1 (b) of the Regulation.
A compliance report including but not limited to the list of affected passengers, details of passengers handling should be forwarded to the Authority within 96 hours from the receipt of the letter from the Authority.
“Passengers are adirected to exercise restraint while dealing with such challenging issues in the airports. Flight delays are normal occurrences in aviation and rather than resort to violence, passengers are assured of the readiness of NCAA to continue to protect the rights and privileges of all stakeholders within the ambit of the law so as to ensure safety and security of the aviation industry”, Sam Adurogoye, NCAA spokesman said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the director consumer protection directorate, NCAA, Mr Abdullahi Adamu, said in an interview with aviation correspondents at the International wing of the Airport at Ikeja shortly after addressing stranded Arik passengers that the airline would be sanctioned.
He said, the airline has violated the Montreal convention of 1999.
Abdullahi said under normal circumstances, the passengers ought to have arrived with their luggage but regretted that over two days after arrival, their luggage were yet to arrive.
He announced a fine of $150 on Arik per passenger in accordance with the Montreal convention.
“The compensation for delayed luggage according to Montreal Convention of 1999 is $150 ,Arik has failed in its duty because that compensation should have come the moment the passenger lands without his bag. They have not done that and they are agreeing with the passengers who agreed to waived part of his right to collect S50 dollars as against to $150′
“We have also directed Arik to bring in the balance of their luggage for all passengers in the next 24 hours ,we have written Arik in that direction and they are complying but that does not stop sanction because violation has taken place”
Abdullahi who described the action of the airline as a national embarrassment appealed to passengers to to bear with NCAA adding, that if the full sanction was applied that it will bring down the airlines but assured that the airline will definitely pay for the consequences of their action.
He warned all airlines both domestic and foreign that sanction will be meted out to them in the case of luggage default.
At the time of this report, arrangement was being made to get launch and accommodation for the stranded passengers.