- NCAA Fines Arik N6m Over ‘Poor Handling’ of Luggage
Air travel apex regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has fined Arik Air N6 million for the violation of aviation rules in the recent poor handling of luggage belonging to some London passengers.
NCAA also mandated the airline to pay the affected passengers the statutory $150 (about N60,000) as compensation for the inconveniences within the next 30 days.
The Guardian learnt that Arik Air between December 2 and 4 brought scores of passengers from London to Lagos without their checked-in luggage.
NCAA yesterday said the action contravened the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs), coupled with alleged lack of compassion for the affected passengers by the airline.
General Manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said upon the receipt of complaints, the agency invited Arik to a meeting on December 6, 2016 with a directive to immediately address the issues.
Adurogboye added: “However, Arik embarked on continuous flouting of the Nig.CARs and the authority’s directives to freight all backlogs of short-landed baggage to Lagos within 48 hours.
“Similarly, the carrier declined to offer care and compensation to the affected passengers, which were unanimously agreed for $150.”
He added that the airline also did not inform the passengers at the soonest practicable time that their checked-in baggage would be off-loaded as required by Part 19.7.2 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.
“Consequent upon these, the following sanctions suffice: Arik Air Limited to pay to the Authority within seven days of receipt of this letter, the sum of N6,000,000.00 being civil penalty for violation of Part.19.7.2 of the Nig.CARs, 2015.”
Arik, however, blamed the development on the use of a smaller aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 to operate the Lagos-London Heathrow route due to maintenance on the wide-body A330-200 aircraft frequently used on the route.
The spokesperson of the airline, Banji Ola explained that the airline’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft was hit by a handling company at John F Kennedy International Airport New York on December 1, 2016 which led to the B737-800 to be deployed on the Lagos-London route.
According to him: “In order to avoid a cancellation of the Lagos-London Heathrow flights, an alternative B737-800 aircraft had to be allocated on the route to minimise the inconvenience to passengers.
“The airline was constrained in capacity from a wide-body A330-200 aircraft to a narrow-body B737-800 aircraft and thus had to leave some of the passengers’ baggage behind in London.
“Passengers were, however, duly informed of this capacity restriction at the check-in desk at London Heathrow Airport and were advised of the possibility that some of their baggage will have to be sent on subsequent flights as per space availability.”
Association of Aircraft Pilots Goes After Bristow, Air Peace, Gives Them Two Weeks Ultimatum
NAAPE Gives Bristow, Air Peace Two Weeks Ultimatum to Reverse Action
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has issued a two-week ultimatum to Airlines, which have sacked or planning to sack their Pilots and Engineers, to reverse the action or they would withdraw their service across all Airlines.
Earlier in the week, shortly after NAAPE directed all its members working with Bristow to discontinue their service, the management of Bristow Helicopter immediately announced it would sack about 100 pilots and engineers over a period of few weeks to better manage its weak financial position caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made on the same day, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier, disclosed that it would also be letting go about 70 pilots due to a similar reason.
Comrade Abednego Galadinma, the President, NAAPE, who spoke on the situation at a press conference held at Airport Hotel in Ikeja Lagos, said: “We demand that Bristow and Air Peace should immediately recall all sacked Pilots and Aircraft Engineers until all labour issues are resolved or be grounded by NCAA because of attendant safety concerns created by their action.
“As a result of the known consequences of these illegal actions and our commitment to patriotic fervour, we shall be forced to withdraw our guarantee of industrial peace within the industry if this call is not heeded within two weeks.
”Our union will be left with no other option but to withdraw the services of Pilots and Aircraft Maintenance Engineers across all the airlines.’’
Galadinma added that some of the airlines were operating during the lockdown which means the COVID -19 which they are using as an excuse did not affect revenue from essential services like oil and gas.
It would be recalled that Bristow Helicopter had blamed its decision on the disruption of services in the oil and gas sector.
Therefore, Galadinma said “Operators especially Bristow Helicopters have rendered our members redundant despite assurances by government of support for their businesses in return for operators not laying off staff.
“These operators are already running on lean manpower with disproportionate number being expatriates yet, without regards to our expatriates and local content laws and executive order (5) they gave gone ahead to lay off staff under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic.”
“And they cannot be using COVID-19 as an excuse because the cessation of flight operations did not affect essential services like the oil and gas and Bristow and Caverton were operating during the lockdown. In fact, you’d recall that our members were held by the Rivers State Government during the lockdown, so how can they be using COVID-19 as an excuse.
”it is on record that Bristow Helicopters operated throughout the lockdown supporting oil and gas operations with government approval and guarantees service contracts in the same national interest but are now using COVID-19 to force redundancy on our members.
CACOVID, Dangote Announce Palliative for Families Across Nigeria
CACOVID to Provide Palliative for Families Across Nigeria
The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID-19) led by the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on Thursday announced they will be flagging off a palliative scheme for families across the nation.
According to a statement released through the Group official Twitter handle @cacovidng, each family that benefits from the palliative scheme would receive below food items.
The statement reads “At the moment, we’re flagging off the palliative scheme across the country. For every family that benefits from the scheme, we will be handing over the below essential food materials.
“We have Isolation Centers functional across all 36 states of the country, equipped with state of the art equipment that will cater for everybody who comes down with COVID19. These facilities are stocked with the essential tools to aid the management of the pandemic.
“CACOVID is majorly comprised of private sector individuals, with the aim of serving as a buffer for the effects of the pandemic. With this in mind, we can assure that there are no political affiliations needed to benefit from the Palliatives scheme.”
The statement noted that the allocations were agreed upon by the Nigerian Governors Forum but the allocation itself is presently being carried out by the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Group partner.
“To balance our efforts and ensure efficiency, we’re still running a sensitization campaign to make sure everyone understands that COVID19 is deadly, not propaganda and can infect anybody,” CACOVID-19 stated.
Bristow Plans to Sack 100 Pilots, Engineers in Few Weeks
Bristow to Sack 100 Pilots, Engineers Amid Strike
Embattled Helicopter company, Bristow Helicopter, on Tuesday announced its decision to sack 100 pilots and engineers in the next couple of weeks due to the negative impact of COVID-19 on all its operations.
The announcement was made a day after the company’s engineers and pilots embarked on strike following the failure of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers to reach an agreement with the management of Bristow Helicopter on labour matters.
In a statement released On Tuesday through Topcom, a public relations firm representing the company, Bristow said COVID-19 has affected all its business units, especially the Oil and Gas sector.
In the statement titled ‘Bristow Restructures Nigeria Operation,’ the Helicopter Company said downturn going on in the global oil and gas sector impacted the company’s ability to respond to Pilots and Enginers’ request for salary upgrade from N345 per US dollar exchange rate to N355/us$.
Bristow’s statement read “The combined effects of these ‘arisings’ have resulted in very significant reductions to our business particularly a reduction in the number of contracted aircraft in Nigeria.”
Due to these challenges, “Bristow has made the decision to restructure all aspects of its business model (both rotary and fixed wing), including an extensive review of its operation and will continue to drive efficiencies with zero compromise to safety and core value.”
While this might be another trick or strategy not to shift ground regarding the request of pilots and engineers that commenced strike on Monday after three-days warning, Bristow appears to be playing its card right. Capitalising on COVID-19 challenges, especially after Air Peace announced it would be letting go 70 pilots due to the same reason.
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