Arik Air says the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) acted unprofessionally for publicising the issuance of a N6 million fine awarded against it for delaying the luggage of some passengers.
In a statement by Ola Adebanji, spokesman of the airline, Arik said the NCAA should not have publicised the fine and ought to have given it time to respond to the letter it sent.
Arik had stalled the arrival of luggage of of its passengers who journeyed on its flights from Heathrow airport in London to Lagos on the December 2, 3 and 4.
Consequently, NCAA issued a fine of N6 million and ordered the airline to pay affected passengers $150 as compensation.
Ola said the organisation was in the process of responding to the letter issued by NCAA, before the agency went public with the fine.
“The NCAA’s action of publicising this letter before the airline has had an opportunity to formally respond to them by the deadline stated in their letter is rather unprofessional,” he said.
“Arik Air did everything possible to ensure the London passengers got their baggage in good time. When the airline’s wide body A330-200 aircraft was damaged by a ground handling truck, it deployed a B737-800 on the London route to minimise the disruption to the passengers.
“All passengers checking in from London were given a letter informing them of the capacity limitation and weight restriction on this aircraft type and advised that some of their baggage would be delayed because of this and transported on the next available flight with capacity.
“All passengers were accepted on to the flight based on this understanding. However, after arriving in Lagos some of them formed pressure groups and took the laws into their own hands disrupting the operations of the airline, assaulting the airline’s employees and destroying its property. Some of the airline’s employees were beaten and hospitalised and some of them are still receiving medical treatment as of date.
“Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) security did nothing to prevent the passengers from disrupting the airline’s operations or in providing adequate security to the airline and its personnel to enable the flights to leave on time thereby preventing a quicker resolution in the recovery of baggage.
“Some FAAN security personnel were also encouraging passengers to disrupt checking-in process and seated themselves on top of Arik Air check-in counters.
“Arik Air uses this medium to communicate to all stakeholders that we would be formally addressing each of the issues raised in the NCAA statement and in their letter within the seven (7) working days deadline stated in their letter.
“The airline also appeals to all the industry stakeholders and agencies to uphold and protect the rights of operating airlines in the country in dealing with total lawlessness and security breaches by individuals.”