NCAA probes Lufthansa over alleged passengers’ maltreatment



The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has begun investigation into the alleged maltreatment of over Nigeria-bound passengers by German carrier-Lufthansa Airlines


The General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, who made the disclosure in Lagos, said the agency had got a report of the alleged maltreatment of over 200 Nigeria-bound passengers.


A Frankfurt-Lagos flight, meant to arrive the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 5:45pm last Friday, later arrived at 2am after diverting to Cotonou in Republic of Benin and Malabo, Equitorial Guinea.


The aircraft had hovered over Lagos airport for one hour before leaving for Cotonou. On arriving Lagos at 2am, the passengers asked the airline to make arrangement for their stay but the carrier reportedly threatened to call police on them.  There were also reports that Lagos airport was not closed contrary to the claim by the Lufthansa pilot.


However, Adurogboye said the report had got to the aviation industry regulator and an investigation has been launched into the matter.


He said, ‘”I just got our Consumer Department and I was told that the report came in today and, as such, just beginning to do their investigation into the matter.”


Meanwhile, some industry stakeholders have decried the manner Lufthansa Airlines allegedly maltreated their passengers who arrived the country at 2am.


Lufthansa’s Flight LH566, which took off from Frankfurt and was destined for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos as direct flight was diverted to Cotonou, Togo and later to Malabo, Equatorial Guinea by the pilot for unclear reasons.


The flight with over 200 passengers and about only 15 passengers destined to Malabo was scheduled to arrive Lagos by 5:45 pm on March 3, 2023, before flying to Equatorial Guinea capital.


Aviation stakeholder, Grp Captain John Ojikutu said, “It about six days now we heard of a Lufthansa flight diverting itself to Cotonou because the Lagos airport was closed, according to the pilot. Curiously, no other airline aircraft made diversion because of such information about ‘the closed airport’ and NAMA has not reacted to the seriousness of such information on the safety of our airspace neither did the NCAA.


“My technical partners in UK just called me this afternoon to find out my views on the incident. They reminded me of the hijacking of an Egyptian airline going to Turkey but diverted to Malta. I was asked if the situation that occurred over our airspace could not be a copycat for hijackers? I need to cut it short here: The NCAA needs to seriously look into this matter, report the Lufthansa matter to ICAO and IATA and thereafter sanction the airline.


“I’m not sure if NAMA has made any report on this matter but if not, the NCAA must take the necessary steps on this with NAMA. We are close to the next ICAO and FAA/TSA Audits this year; these are likely to be the focus of some of their questions.”


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