Despite NCAA regulations, Ibom Air cancelled flight 1hr to take-off

DESPITE regulations by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) providing that airline operators give at least 24 hours’ notice ahead of flight cancellations for domestic travellers, Ibom Air cancelled the trip of some passengers travelling from Port Harcourt to Abuja barely 75 minutes to take-off time on Sunday, November 12.

At about 8.30am, passengers scheduled to board the 9.45 am flight Q10534 queued up in a line at the Ibom Air check-in counter when they were called together for an announcement by one of the airline staff.

She disclosed that due to “security concerns,” all travellers present could not be conveyed to Abuja as scheduled, and only passengers who had checked in online could make the trip that Sunday.

Although disgruntled passengers at the airport demanded to know what security concerns allowed for the transportation of selected passengers, she did not speak further on the issue. She, however, asked other passengers to reschedule their flights for the following day, Monday, November 13.

The ICIR observed an angry male traveller lamenting the cost of taxis that convey passengers to and from the airport.

“I paid N15,000 to get here. I’m supposed to pay another N15,000 to go home and repeat the trip tomorrow?” he asked.

In Nigeria, as is the case globally, rescheduling flights by customers comes at a price that the airline decides.

However, flights being rescheduled or cancelled by the airlines hardly come with compensation for the customers, and in some cases, no explanations are given.

In October, The ICIR reported that the process of cancelling flights by Nigerian airlines is often contrary to the provisions of the aviation laws in the country, including the NCAA Regulations of 2015.

According to Part 19.7 of the regulations, passengers are entitled to compensation if cancellations are not announced at least 24 hours earlier.






     

     

    “In respect of domestic flights, have the right to compensation by the operating air carrier in accordance with Section 19.10 unless they are informed of the cancellation at least twenty-four hours before the scheduled time of departure,” the regulations stated.

    The NCAA Director of Consumer Protection and Public Affairs, Chris Najomo, who spoke to The ICIR on Friday, November 17, over the cancellation of the Ibom Air flight, encouraged customers to report cases of non-compliance with the regulation by airlines.

    “The NCAA desks are very visible in the airport. If there is any complaint or maltreatment, go to the desk and complain immediately. These cases are usually resolved once the NCAA is involved,” Najomo said.

    He, however, requested details of the trip, adding that the NCAA would investigate the case.

    Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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