By Ossom Raphael
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Tuesday commenced probe into the Turkish Airline’s delayed flight of 22 students of Glisten International College, Abuja from Houston to Istanbul and the missed connecting flight to Abuja.
The Council in a joint media briefing with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in Abuja, said they had opened an inquiry into why the Airline delayed the students’ flight from Houston to Istanbul by two hours and why the Airline was negligent in meeting its responsibilities when the students missed their connecting flight from Istanbul to Abuja.
Turkish Airlines has fallen short in its customer services department on its Nigerian route in the past. The Airline in 2016, was accused of shoddy treatment of passengers of Flight 623 from Istanbul to Abuja on December 25 and 31, 2015 as well as January 9, 2016, which prompted the council to approach the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for the prosecution of the airline.
The Executive Director of the Council, Mr Babatunde Irukera, said the students had attended Lego competition in the United States and hoped to return to Nigeria by the Turkish Airline, which would do a stopover in Istanbul for the students to take a connecting flight to Abuja.
Irukera said the delay in Houston resulted in the students missing their connecting flight to Abuja and it was required of the Airline to take responsibility of the students’ accommodation and feeding in Istanbul.
According to Irukera, “it was expected that the Turkish Airline, as a matter of law and as a matter of responsibility would take the responsibility to protect these young people and make appropriate provisions but the report we have from Glisten School, which is the school where these students come from, is that when they arrived at Instanbul, Turkish Airline had not made any arrangement in respect to their continued connection to Abuja”.
Irukera, said the Airline appeared irresponsive to the students’ complaints and dilemma’ leaving the students stranded.
“The minors were asked to pay to secure a visa to be able to enter Turkey and failing which Turkish Airline would not take any responsibility of the students.
“Each of the students at some point had to pay $40 dollar each to secure the visa, move beyond he immigration and slept on the floors.
“The Airline at some point fed the students but failed to pay for neither their passage nor their accommodation” Irukera said.
Meanwhile, the Director of Consumer Protection of the NCAA, Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi, who said the Airline has been notified, assured that the authority would collaborate with the CPC to get justice for the students, even as he said response to the inquiry would determine the next line of action.