Aviation Minister Meets with Turkish Airlines Delegation, Stresses Importance of Respecting Nigerian Passengers

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The Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN CON FCIarb (UK), today held a significant meeting with a high-level delegation from Turkish Airlines insisting that the airline must consistently respect Nigerian passengers.

The delegation, led by the airline’s Vice President in Charge of Africa, Hilemet Mesut Turkseven, included General Manager, Lagos, Lokman Balkan, General Manager, Abuja, Akin Carleal, and the Turkish embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission, Imdat Karakoc.

During the meeting, the Minister emphasized the need for Turkish Airlines to consistently respect Nigerian passengers. He 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 Honourable 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 praised Nigerians for their unwavering support and emphasized 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. He urged Turkish Airlines to continually uphold respect and dignity for Nigerian passengers.

Tunde Moshood, Special Adviser Media and Communications to the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development saying The Minister critiqued the airline’s communication strategy during the union actions, attributing the issues to the attitude of the 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:

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, Imdat Karakoc, assured the Honourable Minister that he would discuss these 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 against 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.


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