TOWARDS the end of 2019, Turkish Airlines once again entered the news, not on a palatable note, as the airline was accused of operating into Nigeria without bringing passengers’ baggage on the flights.
The latest was not the first of its type as the airline had in the past violated this simple but critical aspect of the contractual agreement between an airline and its passengers.
In other words, Turkish Airlines is known for operating into the country with penchant for persistent baggage delays.
It is on record that many of its inbound passengers had in the past created commotion at some airports in the country while protesting against the failure of the airline to bring their luggage along with them.
It will be recalled how, few years ago, some aggrieved passengers who came on Turkish Airlines and discovered their baggage were not brought with them, scattered the Nnamdi Azikwe International airport to protest.
The aggrieved passengers overwhelmed the FAAN Aviation Security officials forcefully entered the airport restricted area and destroyed government facilities in the protest.
When it comes to good airline/passenger relationship, Turkish Airlines is far below expectations. Another typical example reared its head when the airline, not too long ago, abandoned 22 Nigerian pupils, students and instructors of Glisten International College, Abuja at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul.
The good news about the latest misdemeanour is the prompt action taken by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which threatened to suspend the operations of the airline in Nigeria if it failed to review its style before December 16, 2019.
The latest drama was traced to the use of a wrong aircraft size which could not accommodate the baggage of many passengers.
The NCAA had in a memo to the airline threatened to keep the airline suspended until it was ready to operate into the country with the right aircraft size and bring passengers into the country together with their checked in baggage.
The memo partly declared: “These incidents, which have been going on for two weeks, has become so bad that the most recent flight arrived without 85 per cent of passengers’ baggage onboard. Our Airport Authority have been facing serious crises controlling the passengers at the airport whenever they arrive without their baggage.
“This issue has made passengers to carry out several mob actions at our airport and it is a great threat to our airport facilities. In view of all these, and the series of meetings held with Turkish Airlines personnel, which did not yield any solution to the problem, the NCAA is therefore, left with no option than to direct Turkish Airline to suspend its operations into Nigeria until such a time when the airline is ready to operate with the right size of aircraft that can transport all passengers with their baggage at the same time.”
Though the airline has since complied by bringing a larger aircraft that can easily accommodate passengers and their luggage, it is sad that things had to get to that level before the airline management realized the need to change the aircraft size.
Agreed that some other foreign airlines may be guilty of this unpleasant act, but it is almost impossible that they can perpetrate this type of passengers’ abuse in other climes where they are not even making the kind of profit they make in Nigeria.
It is on this note that, while Crucial Moment commends the NCAA for calling the Turkish Airlines to order, the regulatory body should go further in the new year to beam its searchlight on the activities of the foreign airlines vis a vis the way they treat Nigerian passengers.
The Nigerian government has been good to them by even giving them too much opportunities to operate and make money, they should show some respect in return.