As aviation workers’ strike enters day two, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General, Captain Musa Nuhu, said passengers will soon start to get 100% instant refund anytime an airline cancels a flight.
Nuhu who spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme, said this will become effective once a new regulation in the pipeline is signed into law, adding that concerted efforts have been made to resolve the ongoing strike by aviation workers at airports all over the country.
He stated that over a billion naira in aviation earning is being lost to flight cancellations and delays but he did not give the time frame to quantify the amount is said was being lost.
Scores of flights have been affected in the country and thousands of local and international passengers stranded as protesting aviation unions grounded airports in Nigeria on Monday over the non-release of the reviewed Condition of Service, planned demolition of Dominion and EAN hangars, amongst sundry issues.
The industrial action, which entered day two on Tuesday, has continued to leave many passengers at the receiving end of the two disagreeing elephants – the Federal Government and the striking unions.
Asked if passengers can get refunds for tickets purchased earlier before the strike to make plans for alternative mode of movement, the NCAA boss, on Tuesday, said: “It should be immediately. We are currently reviewing our regulations to review what’s done in the past that gives some days for refund if my flight is cancelled.
“What we have in the new regulation that will be signed into law very soon when it’s all cleaned up is that if you cancel my flight, you should put me on another flight or give me the option of getting refund immediately so that I can make other plans.
“Without the passengers, we don’t exist. The passengers are those who pay our salaries. Majority of the entire generated revenue of the NCAA, 80% or more, is from the 5% paid by the passengers. So, they pay our salaries,” Nuhu stated.
He said flight cancellations within the strike have led to direct losses to airlines and indirect losses to the economy.
“Certainly, in the billions. From direct losses to the airlines and indirect losses to the economy because when people miss their connections a lot is lost. I can’t say but I can guarantee you it’s in the billions. At least over a billion. I think I am being very conservative,” he said.
Nuhu also said that concerted efforts have been made to resolve the strike, appealing to the various unions to give the Federal Government the opportunity to resolve the crisis.
The striking unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), amongst others.
According to the NCAA boss, a meeting has been scheduled amongst the unions, the Head of Service, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Budget Office.
“I understand the frustration of the union but by going on strike, it is the innocent passengers that will suffer from this strike. And it is also the aviation industry, the ground handlers, the airlines that will suffer,” he stated.