NCAA To Airlines: Stop Selling Tickets Now If You Can’t Fly

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has advised airlines to ensure that tickets are not sold to air travellers when there are perceived or real hitches concerning sourcing of aviation fuel.
The NCAA in a statement yesterday, expressed concern over increase in the spate of flight cancellations in the country.
The regulatory agency stated that several reports from the Consumer Protection Officers (CPOs) and aggrieved passengers have inundated its offices from across the nation’s airports.
The statement signed by the general manager public relations of NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye noted that even though the regulatory authority is very much aware of the prevailing challenges as regards aviation fuel, it is expected that the airlines should follow strictly the requirements of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) in carrying out their operations.
Adurogboye emphasised that the circumstances should not open a window for outright impunity and a flurry of cancellations which has consequently rendered air travel in the country a nightmarish experience.
“All Airline Operators are therefore warned to adhere to the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) while dealing with passengers. Many of whom have parted with their hard earned cash in return for comfort and value while commuting to their destinations.
 “Therefore sufficient notice must be accorded all intending passengers prior to any operational cancellation. Where there is a delay in the service, passengers must be duly informed and light refreshment provided,” Adurogboye stated.
He observed that while NCAA is not unmindful of the efforts being made by the airlines to avoid operational hiccups, passengers are similarly enjoined to exercise restraint and cooperate with airline officials during eventualities.
According to him, it is noteworthy that the federal government of Nigeria is already taking measures that would ameliorate the paucity of Jet A1.
“These steps would guarantee availability and allow operators provide adequate services. However, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority wishes to reiterate that all airlines should henceforth guard against frequent flight cancellations that will jeopardise the conditions of carriage agreed with the passengers,” he said.
He hinted that the Authority has therefore intensified monitoring at all the nation’s airports, assuring that any unjustifiable or avoidable flight cancellation “will be viewed with utmost seriousness and where culpability is established very stiff sanctions will be applied.”
At the wake of the scarcity of Jet A1, the chief executive officer of Arik Air, Mr Chris Ndulue said the airline had had to scale down its operations and hinting that the airline might suspend flights until aviation fuel becomes available.
But the airline, which is Nigeria’s largest and controls about half of the Nigerian aviation market managed to continue flights.
Yesterday, the airline issued a statement saying the aviation fuel dearth had greatly impacted on its operation and appealing to its passengers.
“The scarcity which has been on and off in the past few weeks has reached an alarming proportion as oil marketers are finding it difficult to cope  with the requirements of the airline. The scarcity is more pronounced in Lagos and Abuja hubs where a number of flights had to be delayed while awaiting supply of fuel and some are cancelled due to untimely delivery by the marketers,” the airline said.
Some of the contributing factors to flight delays, according to the airline, include inadequate and unserviceable bowsers as well as trucking distance to go back and forth between the depots and airport.
“Due to the inability of oil marketers to meet our daily fuel requirements because of the number of local, regional and international flights we operate, our operations are most impacted and passengers inconvenienced. We therefore appeal for the understanding of our guests as all stakeholders continue to find a lasting solution to the problem,” the airline stated. 
Airports across the country experienced heavy crowds as airlines cancelled hundreds of flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airports.
Since last week Thursday, airlines have been battling with severe shortage of aviation fuel which has led to cancellation of over 1,000 flights, with many more delayed.
Expectedly, LEADERSHIP gathered that the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja and the Port Harcourt Airport were the worst affected with hundreds of passengers lamenting delay or cancellation of their flights.
As early as 8am, the Lagos airport was already full with passengers, without any airline making headway. Passengers were complaining bitterly with frustration conspicuously written on their faces.
Those approached by our correspondent declined comment in obvious anger. A staff of one the badly affected airlines, Aero Contractors however told LEADERSHIP at the Lagos airport that the scarcity of Jet A1 has hit the airlines badly.
He indicated that the airlines were making desperate efforts to “activate a few flights for the day,” depending on the amount of fuel at the disposal of the airlines.
“The airlines are working hard on it. We are trying to merge flights and I am sure other airlines are working in line with same strategy to make the best use of the volume of fuel that they have,” said the source, who pleaded anonymity because he is not allowed to speak with the media.
He also hinted that international flights were affected. 
“The end is not yet in sight because there is no supply at all. Marketers have not imported Jet A1 for some time now,” the source said.
LEADERSHIP also observed that cost of flights have been increase marginally.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *