Arik Air’s Passengers’ Complaints Are Being Resolved—-Abdullahi
The Director Consumer Protection Department (CPD), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mallam Adamu Abdullahi recently in this interview spoke about what the DCP has been doing to resolve the issue of Arik Air’s passengers, whose monies from tickets were trapped due to the takeover by Assets Management Corporation (AMCON) and the closure of Abuja Airport only runway and whether passengers will encounter any problem when the airport is eventually shut for flight operations. He also spoke on the awards he and the department won recently. Excerpts.
You attend to passengers when they complain about airlines and now that Assets Management Corporation (AMCON) has taken over Arik Air, what happens to the teeming passengers whose monies are trapped as a result of the tickets they bought from the airline on both local and international flights?
Yes this is true. This has even become more compounded because Arik Air’s new management has come out openly to say that they have suspended flights into most of their international routes. JFK is out now and London Heathrow is no more but what we have done is to talk to the new management of the airline. Through our Director General we have also spoken to AMCON and inform them that yes the airline’s accounts have been garnished but then, there are some responsibilities that have to be carried out, in that airline’s passengers have to be catered for. So far, I would say, the new management has been doing the right thing because since I spoke directly with the new management, we noticed that they now carry passengers along. The airline has a robust customer service department now which I can vouch for. They have been addressing passengers and the peculiar needs of individual passengers to the extent that most the passengers have now virtually left unless off course you have booked your tickets for a much later flights.
Even at that, if by then the airline has not resume those operations they will endorse you on another airline, that’s what they have been doing or they would refund you your full fare, which they have also been doing. I will say they have been doing well, so far, so good; things have taken their right course. We don’t have much number of aggrieved passengers anymore.
What assurance are you giving to passengers that what happened last year would not repeat itself again?
You see the issue of assurances of what happened would not happen again is not a possibility because in a aviation, delays, cancellations, miss routed bags, missing bags etc is a continuous thing, it must happen, it is the handling that we have to look at because the regulations are very clear; if you delay a flight this is what the airline should do and this is what the passenger should do, if you cancel the flight, this is what the passenger should do , they have both obligations and they have their responsibilities. Therefore, in as much as the airlines do what they are suppose to do we don’t have any quarrel, you can cancel all the flights you want to cancel but give the options that the regulations say you must give, take the passengers on another flights where possible, if not, refund them their money immediately, so that they can go and buy another tickets and apply all the other rules, that’s it, once that is done, nothing to worry about.
Very soon Abuja airport will be shut to flights to effect repairs on its runway, passengers are expected to feel the effect more, do you foresee any problem?
We as CPD has been carried along. We have attended all the stakeholders’ fora that were held by the Honourable minister and we have had discussions with the airport authority. We know what’s going on, we know how prepared they are. In fact, I also happened to be at the meetings held with the Kaduna State Government officials and how the state government will come in.
We have seen how the state government is coming in and that those roads have been done. The road to the train station as well as the by-pass and the Kaduna road are being done as well.
Personally, because one of the lanes on the Abuja-Kaduna road is now closed to traffic and we can see work being done on the other lane. All in all, once the roads are done, traffic is controlled, you give people the alternatives so that if you need a helicopter, helicopter services is available and if you need to go by train you have access to train station, if you want to go by bus, the buses are made available, I don’t envisage we are going to have any problems. And this issue of international airlines opting not to operate to Kaduna is really a commercial decision it is not for government to push them or force them to operate to certain airport. The minister has explained this many times; that what is really happening is whenever you have a flight from point A to point B there is always a point C which is the alternate airport. So government is offering them Kaduna as an alternative to Abuja. If airline don’t want to go to Kaduna it is their own choice, it is a commercial decision. They can come to Lagos or go to anywhere else they want to go to in Nigeria and once they have agreement with their passengers. Like I said it is a commercial decision and that is that. There is nothing really to worry about.
You recently won the award as the Aviation Director of the year 2016 and your Directorate, the Best Overall Consumer Services Unit, how does this make you feel?
It is recognition for things that the organisers considered we have done well beyond that it started with our own Director General first and foremost with a corporate ward to the Director General because the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) has been doing things right. As you can see we have recorded three straight years of accident free aviation now and we have also minimised incidence in aviation and even the consumer protection issues that we have been getting complaints in thousands now it’s now in trickles because the airlines now know what to do and they have been doing the needful so that customers get the services they pay for. All in all, I would say we are very glad that we are being recognised.
I dedicate the two awards to the men and women of the CPD, who through rain and sun shine have been in all the airports in the country trying to deliver and more kudos and more grease to their elbows. End
1 thought on “Arik Air’s Passengers’ Complaints Are Being Resolved—-Abdullahi”
This man is lieing through his teeth and gloating at passengers. I got stuck in Lagos last February when Arik Air suspended its International flights without notice. I complained both in Lagos and online but still have not got even a courtesy reply to my emails.