Flight operations: Respect Nigerian passengers, Keyamo tells Turkish Airline

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, has insisted that the Turkish airline must consistently respect Nigerian passengers.

He said this on Wednesday when a high-level delegation from Turkish Airlines, led by the airline’s Vice President in Charge of Africa, Hilemet Mesut Turkseven, General Manager, Lagos, Lokman Balkan, General Manager, Abuja, Akin Carleal, and the Turkish embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Imdat Karakoc visited him in his office in Abuja.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the special assistant media and communications to the Aviation and Aerospace Development Minister, Tunde Moshood, explained that during the meeting, the Minister addressed concerns about reported instances of disrespect during flight operations, underscoring the importance of maintaining high standards of customer service and dignity for all passengers.

The Turkish Airlines delegation conveyed the regards of their CEO, Bilal Eksi, to the Minister, expressing gratitude for his intervention during the recent union actions that had disrupted their operations.

Vice President Turkseven thanked the Minister for his support and reiterated the airline’s commitment to Nigeria, highlighting their 18 years of service since commencing operations in 2006.

He lauded Nigerians for their unwavering support and emphasised Turkish Airlines’ dedication to cooperating with the Nigerian government and its agencies to foster further growth in the country.

In his response, the Minister assured the delegation that there would be no further disruptions to their flight operations, given that the matter is currently before an industrial court.

The Minister critiqued the airline’s communication strategy during the union actions, attributing the issues to the attitude of their country manager.

“I had to advise your authorities to issue a press statement to calm troubled nerves,” he noted.

The Minister also put forward three key demands to the Turkish Airlines team, including;

Aircraft Upgrades: He requested an upgrade to the aircrafts used for flights to Nigeria.

Transit Visa Issues: He addressed the problem of transit visas causing Nigerians to be stranded in Istanbul, seeking a resolution.

Support for Local Caterers: He advised the airline to support local caterers by serving Nigerian cuisine on return journeys.

Deputy Chief of Mission of Turkey, Imdat Karakoc, assured the minister that he would discuss the issues with the Turkish authorities back home and promised necessary adjustments.

He committed to improving the quality of aircrafts used, despite stating that the current aircrafts are not specifically directed for Nigeria.

“This meeting signifies a positive step towards strengthening the relationship between Turkish Airlines and the Nigerian aviation sector, ensuring better service and mutual respect for all passengers,” he said.