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Keyamo Urges Turkish Airlines to Respect Nigerian Passengers - THISDAY

MAY 31, 2024

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, yesterday held a 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, also 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 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 minister flayed the airline’s communication strategy during the union actions, attributing the issues to the attitude of the country manager. He said: “I had to advise your authorities to issue a press statement to calm troubled nerves.”

Keyamo also put forward three key demands to the Turkish Airlines team on aircraft upgrades, requesting an upgrade to the aircrafts used for flights to Nigeria. He further addressed the problem of transit visas causing Nigerians to be stranded in Istanbul, seeking a resolution and support for local caterers. He advised the airline to support local caterers by serving Nigerian cuisine on return journeys. Keyamo, however assured the delegation that there would be no further disruptions to their flight operations, given that the matter is currently before an industrial court.

Deputy Chief of Mission,  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,  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.

“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,” a statement said. 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 emphasised Turkish Airlines’ dedication to cooperating with the Nigerian government and its agencies to foster further growth in the country.


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