Nigerian govt threatens to sanction airlines over false departure schedules

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it will sanction airlines that schedule departure times deceitfully.

The Acting Director-General of NCAA, Chris Najomo, made the assertion in a statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs/Consumer Protection, Michael Achimugu, on Tuesday.

The NCAA warned the airlines to desist from the infraction or face dire regulatory actions.

“The NCAA now runs a zero-tolerance approach to regulatory infractions.

“Ease of doing business is the crux of the D-G’s action plan for the NCAA. In line with that action plan, he has made processes for licensing easy for operators.

“The time to secure AOC is now shorter and less cumbersome than it used to be in the past. The NCAA, therefore, expects reciprocity from airlines. Chief of which is world-class services to passengers,” he said.

Mr Najomo was quoted as saying that if the NCAA was enabling a business-friendly environment for operators, then the operators must satisfy the passengers with superior services.

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“It has come to our notice that some airlines are being reported for advertising deceitful departure times. The NCAA regulation says no airline shall display deceitful passenger departure time at its counter, advert material or on its website.

“We want to make it very clear that the D-GCA has directed monitoring and offenders will face serious regulatory actions,” Mr Najomo said.

He further stated that the authority believes in safety, discipline, and economic regulation, evident in the recent suspension of ten permits for Non Commercial Flights (PHCF) holders for failing to comply with the recertification advisory issued in April 2024.

Speaking about the ease of doing business environment at the NCAA, Mr Najomo said the ease of business is an area the agency would continue to improve.

“This is evident in our high score on the Presidential Enabling Business Council (PEBEC) ranking. Recently our sister agency scored 96 per cent but the NCAA scored 98.5 per cent which is an extremely high score.

“This is building from the commendable score of 71.04 per cent the NCAA scored during this year’s ICAO Security Audit.

“The numbers are improving and we will continue to do what we can to make the industry safer, and more secure for passengers and stakeholders,” he assured.

On the difficulty of airline refund processes, Mr Najomo said all airline refunds must be completed without undue delays and should conclude in 14 working days regardless of the mode of purchase of the tickets.

On the suspension of ten operators’ PHCF licenses, he explained that they had been advised to commence the recertification process since April 2024, but they refused to comply, leaving the agency with no option but to sanction them.

Mr Najomo also discussed a recent publication, among other accusations, alleging that the law surrounding the suspension of 10 PHCFs was not in vogue.

Describing the allegations, which he believed to be based on ignorance or mischief, as fluid and unfounded, Mr Najomo explained that his agency’s actions were guided by the Civil Aviation Act 2022.

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He said that the NCAA’s action was part of its mandate to ensure compliance with the civil aviation law establishing it and the attendant regulations.

To sanitise the sector, the NCAA reaffirmed its stance to rid the industry of illegal charter operators who might have inspired the publication.


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