Many must have been shocked that the government through the Ministry of Aviation stood its ground, shut its doors against the European airline till it was ready to comply with the rule. Eventually, when the Airline’s plane touched the ground at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, on Friday night, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, could not hold it but to go on Twitter to announce the feat.
On his Twitter handle, he said, “Turkish Air operated A330 to Abuja as against the small B737 in apparent response to our suspension order. We needed not to get to this, anyways …”
Going forward, Sirika boasted that no foreign airline operator would henceforth be allowed to treat Nigerian travellers with disdain.
In a statement issued and signed by the Director, Public Affairs in the ministry, the minister further warned other airline operators to take a cue from the recent Turkish Airlines’ experience.
“Following the threat by the nation’s aviation regulators to ban its operations in Nigeria, Turkish Airlines last night flew into Abuja with a bigger aircraft A330 as against the usual smaller B737.
“Officials of the airline, alarmed by the prospect of losing their Nigerian market, had rushed into a meeting with the Nigerian authorities to pledge total commitment,” he said.
The minister also noted that the organisation had tried to comply with the conditions given to it in order to continue its operations in Nigeria,
What really happened: The minister disclosed that Turkish airlines had been notorious for the shabby treatment of Nigerian travellers over time.
He added that such behaviours by the airline had always given rise to security issues at the airports with protests by affected passengers.
The minister, however, said the airline had now shown commitment to improving its treatment of Nigerian travellers by operating a bigger and more comfortable aircraft.
Sirika promised Nigerians better flying experiences as the nation’s aviation industry was set to undergo major developments in the coming years with the implementation of the stakeholder-developed roadmap.