The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is looking into alleged mistreatment of customers by German airline Lufthansa Airlines with flights to Nigeria.
Sam Adurogboye, the NCAA’s general manager of public affairs, revealed the information in Lagos and stated that the agency had received a report of the alleged mistreatment of more than 200 travellers traveling to Nigeria.
Last Friday, a Frankfurt-Lagos flight that was scheduled to land at Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 5:45 pm instead made an emergency landing in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, at 2 am.
Before departing for Cotonou, the plane had been hovering over the Lagos airport for an hour. The passengers begged the airline to make arrangements for their accommodation when they arrived in Lagos at 2am, but the carrier allegedly threatened to call the police on them. Also, contrary to what the Lufthansa pilot claimed, there were rumors that the Lagos airport was not shut down.
Adurogboye, however, claimed that the report had reached the authority overseeing the aviation sector and that a probe into the incident had been opened.
He said, ‘”I just got our Consumer Department, and I was told that the report came in today and, as such, just beginning to do their investigation into the matter.”
As this is going on, several industry insiders have expressed outrage over how Lufthansa Airlines reportedly mistreated its passengers who landed in the nation at 2am.
The pilot of Lufthansa Flight LH566, which departed from Frankfurt and was headed directly for Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport, diverted the aircraft for an unknown cause to Cotonou, Togo, and afterwards Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
On March 3, 2023, the flight, which carried over 200 people but only approximately 15 of them were headed for Malabo, was supposed to land in Lagos at 5:45 pm before continuing on to the capital of Equatorial Guinea.
Aviation stakeholder, Grp Captain John Ojikutu said, “It is about six days now. We heard of a Lufthansa flight diverting itself to Cotonou because the Lagos airport was closed, according to the pilot. Curiously, no other airline aircraft made diversion because of such information about ‘the closed airport’ and NAMA has not reacted to the seriousness of such information on the safety of our airspace, neither did the NCAA.
“My technical partners in UK just called me this afternoon to find out my views on the incident. They reminded me of the hijacking of an Egyptian airline going to Turkey, but diverted to Malta. I was asked if the situation that occurred over our airspace could not be a copycat for hijackers? I need to cut it short here: The NCAA needs to seriously look into this matter, report the Lufthansa matter to ICAO and IATA and thereafter sanction the airline.
“I’m not sure if NAMA has made any report on this matter, but if not, the NCAA must take the necessary steps on this with NAMA. We are close to the next ICAO and FAA/TSA Audits this year; these are likely to be the focus of some of their questions.”