• Jul 31, 2021 . 2 min Read
  • Ethiopian Airlines asked to refund money for suspended flights

Ethiopian Airlines asked to refund money for suspended flights
Joseph Bahingwire
Journalist @New Vision

Following the suspension of all flights from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia, a group of travellers who had booked to travel with Ethiopian Airlines prior to the ban have petitioned the airlines' officials seeking the refund of their money so that they can look for alternative means.

On July 4, Saudi Arabia issued a ban on passengers from Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, applying to anyone who has been in those countries within the last 14 days over COVID 19 concerns.

This has affected travellers from Uganda since they have to pass through Ethiopia en route to Saudi Arabia.

Through their umbrella association, the Uganda Association of External Recruitment Agencies, the group of 500 affected people who were migrant workers heading to Saudi Arabia want the airlines to refund the money amounting to over $300,000 (over sh1bn) they had paid for air tickets, visa and hotel booking.

While speaking to journalists outside the Ethiopian Airlines Offices in Kampala on Wednesday, Enid Nambuya, the association’s executive director, said they want the airlines to refund their members money so that they can find alternative means for their clients to travel.

‘’It’s now more than a month since we started demanding Ethiopian Airlines to refund money to our clients, but they have been tossing us up and down. When we first contacted the office, they gave us an ultimatum of two weeks but the two weeks elapsed but the management of Ethiopian Airlines is not responding’’. Nambuya said.

She said according to the aviation laws, the company was supposed to refund them within fourteen days but has since failed to refund them.

“We are giving them only two more weeks before we report the matter to the Civil Aviation Authority of Uganda,” she said.

According to Nambuya, money was paid for various flights between 5th and 15th July 2021 to transport workers from fifty labour recruiting companies.

When contacted, officials at Ethiopian Airlines refused to comment on the matter and referred the media to the area manager, who was not in the office and could not pick our calls.

However, Vianney Luggya, the manager of public affairs, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority when contacted for the comment said the matter has not been brought to their attention and that the authority will come in to arbitrate after receiving a formal complaint from the aggrieved party.

“That is a contractual matter between the person purchasing the tickets and the airline or ticket selling agent. This matter has not been brought to UCAA's attention by any of the parties you are referring to. I am only hearing it from you. UCAA would only come in to intervene if the two contracting parties failed to agree and the aggrieved submitted to us a formal written complaint with details so that we have a basis upon which to take on the matter and use the available means to ensure compliance, but this has not happened,” he said.

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