By Louis Ibah
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has accused Ethiopian Airlines of extorting money from some if its Nigerian passengers.
The NCAA said in a statement on Sunday that an investigation recently carried out revealed that Ethiopian Airlines had been engaged in the illegal collection of money ($75 and $150) from Nigerian passengers on the Lagos – Addis Ababa – Jonesburg and Enugu – Addis Ababa – Johannesburg routes.
The statement by the NCAA spokesman, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, frowned at the collection of the fees as a breach of the Nigerian civil aviation laws.
“The NCAA has ordered Ethiopian Airlines (ET) to stop forthwith the illegal collection of unauthorised charges referred to as ‘refundable deportation fee’ put at between $75 and $150 where all South Africa- bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay before boarding,” said the NCAA.
“According to investigation by NCAA, all outbound passengers to South Africa from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, (MMIA), Lagos and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, are liable to pay $75 dollars.However, if your transiting time is 24 hours or beyond, the passenger will pay $150 dollars.
While passengers are not given prior notice concerning these charges before arriving at the airports, some were made to sign undertaken to be responsible for all expenses incurred if deported.
Consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management were summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported. The regulatory authority has found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the Authority’s extant regulations,” the statement added.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 18.4.1(iii) stipulates that “all air carriers should obtain approval from the Authority to introduce or increase add-on charges or surcharges prior to implementation.”
According to the NCAA, it had never received any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline. The NCAA however said it had been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate.
“On this strength, Ethiopan Airlines has been ordered to stop with immediate effect these illegal charges,” the NCAA said.
The NCAA hereby warns all operating airlines to endeavour to adhere to the regulations in all facets of their operations. It is part of our statutory responsibilities to protect the rights of passengers and this we shall continue to do in accordance to the law,” the statement added.