The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has accused Ethiopian of fleecing Nigerian travellers with what it termed illegal and authorised charges and taxes. The agency has ordered the carrier to stop the action or face penalty. This was the outcome of meeting between the regulatory body and the carrier.
Wole shadare News learnt that the charges have been on for many years undetected as they are clandestinely billed into their fares. Passengers are expected to collect their refunds if they are not involved in any infraction that would warrant their deportation. But most of the time, getting the refund becomes a herculean task. All South Africa bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay this amount before boarding.
A statement from spokesman NCAA spokesman, Sam Adurogboye put these unauthorised charges which he referred to as Refundable Deportation Fee at between $75 and $150. He described the charges as illegal and criminal. The Authority has been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate.
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 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.”
Till date, the authority has not received any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline. On this strength, Ethiopian Airlines has been ordered to stop with immediate effect these illegal charges.
The aviation regulatory body warns all operating airlines to endeavour to adhere to the regulations in all facets of their operations, adding that 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”.
Sources told our correspondent that the charges were as a direct result of repatriation from South Africa some years back with airlines bearing the burden of the cost of repatriating the passengers however, the charges imposed on flying passengers is not legal as it has not gone through approval of the NCAA and is being done without knowledge of the authorities.
A top official of the airline who spoke on condition of anonymity denied all knowledge of such a charge, saying he did not know anything about it. The source further said that a high-powered delegation of the regulatory body met with Ethiopian Airlines Thursday last week in an effort to investigate and ascertain the level of infraction the airline has committed.
She said, ”the NCAA is investigating the matter and would get to the bottom of it especially as the charge was not approved by the regulators.
Source: Wole Shadare News