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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has called for zero tolerance to flight cancellations and delays, which have plagued airline operations in the country.

The spokesman of the agency, Sam Adurogboye, said the call was made at the just concluded stakeholders’ forum organised by the regulatory authority in Lagos.

Adurogboye said the forum was attended by 13 international airlines, eight domestic airlines, and airport operators, including the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Bi-Courtney Aviation Services (BASL).

During the discussions, officials of the NCAA requested the airline operators to enumerate their challenges that could be the likely causes of delays and cancellations.

In response, the airlines itemised various challenges amongst which include delays in fuel supply, need for improvement in infrastructure at the airports, unruly passengers and traffic along airport road in Lagos, among others.

The management of the NCAA and FAAN in their response assured the operators that all these challenges would be tackled.

The meeting agreed that airlines should be realistic in their flight planning and schedules.

It also agreed that airlines should always disseminate on time information to passengers on flight status, ensure they provide right to care to passengers in times of delays and cancellations in line with regulations.

Also at the meeting, NCAA and FAAN agreed to find better option for fuel hydrants if the old ones would cost a lot of money to fix and the supply points should be connected to the airports.

They called on representatives of FAAN management to ensure that action is expedited on the upgrade of lighting on the domestic runway at Lagos airport so that flights can land there in the night.

The stakeholders agreed that airlines and airport operators should maintain constant communication and airlines should always request re-imbursement of expenses incurred from third parties or service providers with whom they signed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) as stipulated by NCAA regulation.

FAAN was directed to ensure that the CCTV cameras are always operational and that airlines’ inputs should be considered in the design and construction of airports to avoid a repeat of the mistakes of the past.

They agreed that airlines should develop responsive crisis management systems and file their Operation Disruption Manuals with NCAA as required by law.

The stakeholders encouraged domestic airlines and operators to enter into interlining arrangements.

Stakeholders also agreed that aviation organisations would liaise with the Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to fix the underground pipeline layout from Apapa to Lagos airport to minimise surface transportation of fuel.

FAAN also promised to ensure facilities at the airports are functional and these include lighting, carousels, cooling systems and others.

It was also agreed that FAAN should beef up security at the airports to prevent unlawful interference and that airlines’ representatives should be available to testify whenever cases of unruly passengers are referred to the Nigeria Police Force.

Against this backdrop, all airlines are therefore warned to always adhere to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs 2015) and Passengers Bill of Rights in their dealings with passengers.

NCAA insisted that passengers must get value for their money, while the NCAA and FAAN are doing everything to resolve all the issues enumerated, flight delays and cancellations would not be acceptable, the stakeholders agreed.

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