Facts have emerged of how Ethiopian Airlines compelled passengers traveling to South Africa to pay ‘unauthorized’ Deportation charges.
The charge estimated at between $75 to $150 (N35,000- N70,000) is tagged, “Refundable Deportation Fee” which all South African bound passengers are compelled to pay before boarding.
It was learnt that the fee was introduced by the carrier in anticipation that some of the passengers might be deported.
Daily Trust reports that South African government had deported 187 Nigerians in 2017 alone. Following complaints made to the regulatory authority over the illegal charges, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has ordered the airline to stop forthwith the illegal collection of unauthorised charges which he said was against extant regulations.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs) Part 18.4.1(iii) stipulates that “all air carriers should obtain approval from the Authority to introduce or increase add-on charges or surcharges … … … . prior to implementation.”
Spokesman of NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye said the authority had been inundated with several complaints from many passengers that have suffered this fate, noting that the Authority did not receive any request for fare increase, tariff or add-ons from the airline.
The NCAA disclosed that its investigation showed that all outbound passengers to South Africa from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, (MMIA), Lagos and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, transiting through Addis Ababa, are liable to pay $75 dollars.
He said, “While passengers are not given prior notice concerning these charges before arriving at the airports, some were made to sign undertaken to be responsible for all expenses incurred if deported.
“Consequent upon this, the Ethiopian Airlines’ Country management were summoned by NCAA, where they claimed the fees were always refunded when a passenger was not deported.
“The Regulatory Authority has found this unacceptable and viewed it as a violation of the Authority’s extant regulations”, the spokesman said.
The authority however orders the airline to stop with immediate effect the illegal charges.
“The Airline could take advantage of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CAR) and obtain necessary approvals from the Authority if it has genuine grounds to increase fares or obtain tariffs”, Adurogboye added.
He warned all operating airlines to endeavour to adhere to the Regulations in all facets of their operations.
Credit: All Africa