The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ordered Ethiopian Airlines (ET) to stop forthwith the illegal collection of unauthorised charges known as ‘Refundable Deportation Fee’
These unauthorised charges according to an online statement issued by the General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye is put at between $75 and$150.
The General Manager stated that all South Africa bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay this amount before boarding, adding that as a result the authority has been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate.
He informed that investigation by NCAA showed that all outbound passengers to South Africa from the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, (MMA), Lagos and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, are liable to pay $75 dollars.
He added the regulatory body’s investigation also revealed that if a passenger transiting time is 24 hours or beyond, the passenger is compelled to pay $150.
The statement pointed out that 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.
He stated that consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management was summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported.
The regulatory authority, he said has found these un-authorised charges unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the NCAA’s extant regulations.
To buttress its point, NCAA cited 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.”
NCAA said that 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 Airline could take advantage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CAR) and obtain necessary approvals from the Authority if it has genuine grounds to increase fares or obtain tariffs.”
Meanwhile, NCAA warned airlines operating in the country to endeavour to adhere strictly to the regulations in all facets of their operations, adding that it is the authority’s statutory responsibilities to protect the rights of passengers and that this it shall continue to do in accordance to the law.