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NCAA yet to receive fine payment from Arik Air as airline decries attack by passengers

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it is yet to receive the N6 million fine imposed on the airline for contravening the provisions of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs). Though the airline had appealed the fine which the law provides for, the window of payment is 30 days even as no seating had been scheduled for the review of the appeal.

The General Manager, Public Relations of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos.

It would be recalled that the federal agency had on December 27, 2016 ordered Arik Air to pay the sum for violating Part 19.7.2 and 19.17.2.1 (ii) of the Nig.CARs 2015.

The NCAA also ordered the airline to pay its passengers, whose baggage were delayed on the London to Lagos route between Dec. 2 and Dec.4, $150 each as compensation.

It directed that the N6 million fine must be paid within seven days of receipt of the letter, while the $150 compensation to the passengers must be made within 30 days.

In another development, Arik Air has decried what it described as attacks on its staff by passengers and property

Arik Air had on Thursday last week lamented incessant attacks by some aggrieved passengers on its staff and property at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

This was contained in a statement signed by its Communications Manager, Ola Adebanji in Lagos.

The statement said the airline staff and property were attacked by the passengers on Wednesday while its flight operations were disrupted again on Thursday.

It said the issue started when the airline’s Lagos-New York flight was rescheduled from Wednesday to Thursday due to the shortage of aviation.

“Our Lagos-Johannesburg service and Lagos- Accra service were also on ground awaiting fuel while the Lagos-New York service was standing by for fuel.

 “Aviation fuel supply has been epileptic in the country over the past weeks where availability of stock and terms of service are not guaranteed on a consistent basis by the marketers.

“Arik Air pursued all possible options to source fuel for the international flights but when our Customer Service Manager approached the passengers to explain the situation to them, one of the passengers chased and attacked him. ”

Adebanji said this is was followed by a mob of passengers who brutally beat, kicked and chased the Arik Air staff through the terminal building upto the Immigration Section of the terminal.

He said the staff was later rushed to the hospital where he was treated for injuries sustained “during this reckless and inhuman attack”.

He explained further that the airline managed to source a small quantity of fuel and despite eventually sorting out the departure of the Johannesburg service, some of the passengers again on Thursday disrupted the airline’s check-in process.

While adding that the development lead to the cancellation of some of the international flights, including the Lagos-London Heathrow-Lagos service, he said “Arik Air strongly condemns the incessant and increasing number of attacks on our staff and property in the recent months.

“As a flag carrier for Nigeria, the airline expresses it disappointment and dismay that the Aviation Security Department (AVSEC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and all the other security agencies in the country cannot ensure or guarantee the safety of our personnel when on duty across the various airports in the country.

“This serious breach of security and lawlessness by some of the passengers to assault and cause bodily harm to the airline’s personnel cannot and will not continue to be tolerated.

“Passengers continue to take the laws into their hands and the severity and frequencies of such criminal acts are on the rise due to lack of appropriate action or preventative measures from the security agencies.

“The resort to verbal or physical violence in any form by a passenger is not acceptable to Arik Air and the airline would henceforth deploy all measures necessary against any passenger who takes the law into his hands.”

It said the airline would also pursue legal action and engage local and foreign security agencies to investigate, identify and prosecute, to the full extent of the law, all of those passengers in Nigeria and overseas, involved in the attacks.

Adebanji said the airline also intended to formally address the regulators, security agencies and aviation authorities both in Nigeria and overseas to get an immediate resolution to this matter.

“Security at our airports ought to be improved to guard against unwarranted and uncalled for assaults on airline personnel and passengers.