April 13, 2024

Flights Cancellation: Air Peace Leads, FG to Compel Airlines to Pay Compensation for Delayed, Cancelled Flights

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Aviation Minister, Keyamo SAN

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By Reporter

Worried by incessant flights cancellation by airline operators in Nigeria, the Federal Government has said that, it was going to act and protect the rights of airline passengers, by compelling airlines to start paying compensation to passengers for ‘delayed’ and ‘cancelled flights’ not attributed to natural occurrences.

This latest plan was made known by the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Olorogun Festus Keyamo SAN, during a meeting with airline operators in Abuja on yesterday, October 9, 2023.

The Minister said the Federal Government will start the implementation of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Act, adding that Nigerians are not aware that there is compensation for flight delay.

Keyamo said: “On delayed flights, I want to speak for ordinary Nigerians who complain every day about delayed, cancelled flights. I know you have said all your reasons. You have blamed the government and a few things we do. But I also want to say that it is not all the time that it is government.

“At times, you say you were waiting for passengers to finish passing through the screening machine. At times, they have finished passing through screening machines. They are waiting in the lounge for five hours and you cancel your flight.

“So, you see, after some time, we will start implementing the provisions of the NCAA Act. You know, Nigerians do not know there is compensation for delay. If it is an act of God, you cannot pay. But if it is human fault, the NCAA Act says you will pay.

“So, for all airline operators, while I have praised and supported you, I will also support Nigerians. You will pay them. After some time, I will put my feet on the ground. Pay them when you delay, cancel their flight.”

Keyamo however urged the airline operators to build stable communication channels that enable passengers to get cancellation notices.

According to statistics obtained from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), of the 2,791,591 passengers, 10,128 were delayed, while 11 domestic airlines operating in the country cancelled 284 flights in the period under review this year.

A further breakdown of the development shows that, Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest carrier topped the list with the highest number of cancelled flights with 63, followed by Max Air with 56. Arik cancelled 43 flights, Aero Contractors 40, Azman Air 20, and Green Africa 16.

The report also showed that Overland cancelled 15 flights, Value Jet 15, Ibom air 9, Dana air 5, and United Airlines 2.

While giving reasons why flight cancellation will continue, the Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, said the problem is that, a lot of the airlines do not even have the capacity to meet current financial obligations.

He said, “If you have three aircraft for instance and you lose one out of it, it has become a problem to meet up with your operations. Then, you start to have issues of flight delays, cancellations and all that.”

But operators blame the cancellations on over booking by the airlines that are involved because of cut throat competition. “These airlines sell tickets to passengers, even when they know that aircrafts are not available for the route.”

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