Nigeria has issued a ban effective next Monday on Turkish Airlines unless the airline solves an ongoing baggage accommodation problem.
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority has given Turkish Airlines an ultimatum: stop leaving passenger baggage behind or stop flying to Nigeria. The ban is in effect as of December 16, 2019, giving Turkish the remainder of the week to correct what has become a major issue.
Turkish Airlines flies to four cities in Nigeria:
- Abuja (ABV)
- Kano (KAN)
- Lagos (LOS)
- Port Harcourt (PHC)
Recently, Turkish has been leaving many bags behind. So many, in fact, that Turkish Airlines routinely leaves behind a majority of passenger bags due to space constraints in the cargo hold. On one recent flight Turkish Airlines left behind 85% of the bags in Istanbul!
The problem is two-fold. First, Nigerians travel with a lot of bags. That’s not just a generalization, but something I observed first-hadn when I flew to Lagos. Second, Turkish Airlines is greedy. Turkish Airlines collects excess and oversize baggage fees and seems happy to accommodate the many extra bags passengers wish to bring into Nigeria, even if it knows that there is not space onboard.
This has led to drama in several Nigerian Airports. In explaining its ban, the Federal Ministry of Aviation said:
“Our airport authority has been facing a serious crisis controlling the passengers at the airport whenever they arrive without their baggage. This issue has made passengers to carry out several mob actions at our airports and it is a great threat to our airport facilities.”
Turkish Airlines has not issued a response yet the ban. It is unclear whether an aircraft upguage would solve the problem or whether Turkish is simply accommodating too much cargo and must make more space for passenger luggage.
Turkish Airlines has been singled out for this ban and is not the only carrier flying into Nigeria. That leads me to conclude that the problem is not simply one of geography. Perhaps Turkish should consider limiting excess baggage or at least guaranteeing that the first two bags will make it.
What do you make of the Turkish Airlines ban in Nigeria?