Not less than 22 Nigerian students between the age 11 -15 were billed $40 each to sleep at the resting area of Istanbul airport terminal overnight with just blankets provided them by the management of the airline, rather than hotel accommodation.
According to school management personnel who disclosed the mistreatment, this was after the Turkish Airline flight abandoned the team from Glisten International College, Abuja, which had gone to the United States to represent Nigeria in a competition a few weeks ago.
“These are children between the ages of 11 and 15 years and are exposed to this harsh treatment.”
The flight was said to have delayed in arriving from the United States of America, USA, to Turkey for the children to connect the same Turkish Airline flight to Abuja.
The kids had boarded Turkish Airlines flight from Abuja to the US with a stopover at Istanbul Airport.
But on the return trip to Abuja, the students were left stranded at Istanbul Airport, because the Turkish Airline en route US to Istanbul was delayed for an hour by the same airline.
At the time they departed US and arrived in Istanbul for the connecting flight, the Istanbul-Abuja flight had already departed.
Their total flight expenses are worth $840 for each passenger in addition to $40 charged for a sleepover in the frozen atmosphere of the airport.
All efforts made to get a reaction from Turkish Airlines in Nigeria proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had issued a weather alert on Tuesday, cautioning pilots, airline operators and air traffic controllers on the inherent danger associated with severe thunderstorms.
In the statement signed by its general manager, Public Affairs, Sam Adurogboye, stated that these hazards include severe turbulence, microburst, low-level wind shears and hail events that could affect the safety of flight operations.
The agency noted that the weather alert is necessitated by the fact that rainy season, at onset, is usually accompanied by severe thunderstorms and many other hazardous weather phenomena.
In the official note, it stated thus:
“The Advisory Circular (AC) is based on the year 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet).
“It indicates that rainy season is predicted to commence in March/April and May/June 2017 in the Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria respectively.
“Air Traffic Controllers may temporarily close airspace when hazardous weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines microburst or low-level wind shear are observed or forecast; and that Flight Crews/Operators and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) shall ensure adherence to aerodrome weather minima.”
NCAA charged pilots to exercise maximum restraint whenever the adverse weather is observed or forecast, adding that the regulatory authority will expect strict compliance.
“Pilots/Flight Crew Members shall obtain adequate departure, en-route and destination weather information and briefing from NiMet Aerodrome Meteorological Offices prior to flight operations.”