The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA has ordered Ethiopian Airlines [ET] to stop forthwith the illegal collection of unauthorised charges.
A statement signed by Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations, of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority [NCAA], stated that these unauthorised charges referred to as Refundable Deportation Fee is put at between $75 [Seventy five dollars] and $150 [One Hundred and Fifty US dollars].
Adurogboye said in the statement that All South Africa bound passengers on Ethiopian Airlines are compelled to pay this amount before boarding.
“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,” Adurogboye explained.
He noted that the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management were summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported.
He said the Regulatory Authority has found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the Authority’s extant regulations.
He concluded in the statement that: “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, Ethiopan 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.
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”.
In a media publication, Ethiopian Airlines noted that Ethiopian Airlines doesn’t charge any unauthorized fees on this route, but stated that since many passengers have been denied entry in to South Africa by the immigration authorities for various reasons, and these passengers have been inconvenienced during their stay at Johannesburg airport before they were returned back to their airport of departure, they were asked to deposit the mentioned amount to cover their incidental expenses in case they are denied entry.
This amount the airline noted is refunded to the passengers when they have been allowed entry in to South Africa and that it has served the people of Nigeria for the past 57 years and have proved to be a partner in progress and pointed to its recent
However, www.africantraveltimes.com investigation also revealed that some passengers that were recently denied boarding by Ethiopian Airlines that eventually settled for South Africa Airways were royally welcome into South Africa, a situation industry analysts says pointed to be a strategy devised by South African Government to favour its airline on the lucrative Lagos-Johannesburg route.