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FG to name and shame airlines over delayed, cancelled flights

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Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace development, says the ministry will start publishing delayed or cancelled flights by domestic airlines from next week.

Keyamo spoke on Wednesday during an interview on Channels TV Politics Today.

The minister said airlines cannot be sanctioned by suspending their operations.

According to Keyamo, the issue is a delicate one and should be handled carefully so as not to discourage potential investors.

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However, he said customers must find succour, hence rules must be implemented.

“Every week, we will start publishing the list of flights that were delayed or cancelled and the reasons and action taken,” Keyamo said.

“We will start publishing them next week. We will name and shame erring airlines.”

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He said the ministry is ready to enforce laws on the delay and compensation packages for customers as stipulated by international laws.

I feel the pains of Nigerians who go through the pains of flight delays. I see a lot of messages on my phone concerning it and it is sad,” he said.

“There are flight cancellations all over the world but in other climes, they keep to the rules on how to treat customers and refunds. We have to enforce those rules and that’s what we are thinking.

“We’ve engaged a couple of insurance companies to insure passengers and their flight tickets. They will be present at every airport in the country and will swing into action whenever there is a flight delay or cancellation to ensure passengers are not stranded.

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“Do not forget that it is a bit more complicated than that and to be honest, sometimes we are complicit. it is not always the fault of the airlines, weather, or bird strikes. 

“It is the responsibility of FAAN to clear those bids because the airlines paid for parking space and utility, so we should make the atmosphere good for them. sometimes it is the lack of jet AI fuel and other times, it is the airlines’ fault.

“And I have instructed starting this year to get a weekly report on all flights delayed or cancelled and the reasons or actions taken.”

‘FAAN HEADQUARTERS RELOCATION ALREADY IMPLEMENTED’

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Speaking on the relocation of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Keyamo said he, not President Bola Tinubu, authorised the movement.

“I take the decision; it’s a decision under the purview of a minister,” he said.

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“We are going ahead. The directive has been given.”

Keyamo said the headquarters is where the decision-makers meet, not where the largest number of workers are and not where the biggest building is.

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He said over 100 of the 132 workers at the head office are in Lagos while only the directors are in Abuja — without their support staffers.

“You see them flying every day to and fro Abuja to get one file signed. They fly every day back and forth. In one year, they spent close to half a billion naira on flight tickets. N450 million on flight tickets alone,” he said.

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‘EFCC INVESTIGATING NIGERIA AIR’

On the Nigeria Air that was unveiled in 2023 but was indefinitely suspended, Keyamo said EFCC is investigating.

‘There is a criminal investigation going on. I have called for the report,” the minister said.

He further said there are no local airlines that will be designated to be the Nigerian national carrier.  

Keyamo said nominating one local airline to be the national carrier would be unfair to all other local airlines operating in the country.

According to Keyamo, the aviation ministry is already working on establishing what he referred to as “a proper national carrier”.

“I will push for one (national carrier) and I am working on one. Let me say this publicly now, no local airline will be a national carrier, a flag carrier,” he said.

“So, whoever thinks I am working to promote one to be a flag carrier, I am saying it as a matter of policy, it will be unfair to all the local operators.

“No local airline will be designated as a national carrier, I will not do it. We will establish a proper national carrier and people are talking to us, the Arabs are talking to us, the Chinese are talking to us, the Americans are talking to us on this already.”

The minister insisted that the deal to establish Nigeria Air was not in the interest of the nation, adding that there are better deals on the table.

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