Ethiopian Airlines on Monday refuted the claim that it was collecting unauthorised charges on its route from Nigeria to South Africa. The airline issued the denial in a statement signed by its media consultant, Mr Ikechi Uko, which was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had on Sunday ordered the airline to stop the collection of the charges referred to as “refundable deportation fee’’.
The NCAA spokesperson, Mr Sam Adurogboye, said the charges which range between $75 and $150, were collected from Nigerians travelling to the Southern African country.
Uko, in the statement, maintained that Ethiopian Airlines does not charge any unauthorised fees on the route.
According to him, many passengers have been denied entry into South Africa by the immigration authorities for various reasons.
He said that the passengers had been inconvenienced during their stay at Johannesburg airport, before they were returned back to their airport of departure.
“They were asked to deposit the mentioned amount to cover their incidental expenses, in case they are denied entry.
“This amount has always been refunded to the passengers when they have been allowed entry into South Africa,’’ Uko said.
He said the NCAA had recently notified the airline of some passenger complaints on the matter.
Uko said :“We are discussing with the authority on how to handle the matter through diplomatic channels between the Nigerian and South African Governments, in the spirit of African brotherhood.
“Ethiopian Airlines has served the people of Nigeria for the past 57 years and have proved to be a partner in progress.
“Recently, when all foreign airlines refused to fly to Kaduna, ET was the only one that flew to Kaduna. ET was the only airline that agreed to fly to Enugu Airport. Ethiopian Airlines stands with the people of Nigeria for now and in the foreseeable future.’’