NCAA Threatens Sanctions Against Turkish Airline Over Abandonment Of 22 Students


The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has commenced investigation into the abandonment of 22 students and instructors of Glisten International College, Abuja at Ataturk International Airport, Istanbul by Turkish Airlines.
Nineteen students and three instructors of the school were stranded at Ataturk Airport for additional 24 hours after missing the return leg from United States.
It was gathered that officials of the regulatory agency visited the school on a fact finding mission, where they met with the proprietor of the school on Thursday in Abuja to find out the true picture of events in the Middle East country, where its students and the instructors were forced to sleep in the resting area of the airport with just blankets.
The school, which came first in Robot competition in Nigeria 2016, went further to represent Nigeria at the global stage.
The final event, which drew representatives from 171 countries, saw the school emerge among the first 80 winners, beating other top schools and countries, which had been attending the competition in the past 10 years.
It was learnt that when NCAA officials visited the school, they met with the proprietor, who did not only confirm the incident, but also lamented the hardships the students went through in the hands of the Turkish officials and even showed the officials pictures taken at the airport when they slept at the terminal.
NCAA it was learnt enjoined the proprietor of the school to write officially to its agency and promised to sanction the erring airline, which is known for poor passenger handling especially in Nigeria and often time act contrary to the recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
It was learnt that officials of the regulatory body were not pleased with the treatment the pupils received in the hands of the airline in Turkey and may sanction the airline after its investigation into the matter.
“It is unfortunate that the airline could treat our pupils like that over there. They missed the flight from the US, which was even operated by Turkish Airlines because the flight was delayed for over an hour and by the time they arrived at the airport in Turkey, the flight had already departed for Abuja. What they should have done was to put them in a good hotel, feed and even give some stipends, but, they didn’t do that. Rather, they collected some money from them for accommodation. Let’s wait and see what NCAA would do.
Also, I think the management of the school should release the pictures taken in Istanbul to the public through the media. These airlines treat our students and their passengers from this country badly.”
However, an NCAA source, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that its officials visited the school today, but was not privy to what transpired during the visit.
Turkish Airlines is notorious for maltreatment of passengers especially those from Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the airline has debunked the claim that it ferried students from the country to the US within the period.
The airline insisted that it never had a record of minors being dumped at Istanbul Airport.
In the statement, which did not address the issues raised, the airline said, “The story is false and we cannot say more than that. We place primacy and welfare of passengers and as Europe best airline for the six consecutive years; we continue to renew our commitment to delivering quality services to our passengers in its 299 destinations in 120 countries across the globe.”
But independent can confirm that the students and their instructors were passengers of the school from Murtala Muhammed International Airport to Istanbul on Sunday, April 16, 2017 and were billed to return on Monday 24, 2017 with the same airline.
But, this did not happen, as they missed the Istanbul—Abuja flight due to delay in the United States.
When the flight finally got to Istanbul, the Abuja bound flight which the students and their instructors would have board to Nigeria had departed.
Turkish Airline that should have provided accommodation in line with the rule told the students, who were between 11 and 15 that the carrier would not be responsible for providing accommodation and feeding.
As a result, the students were compelled to pay the sum of $40 each, which amounted to $880 before they could access the resting area of the airport.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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