FG directs airlines to refund 100% airfares to passengers after two-hour delay

AIRLINE operators in Nigeria have been directed to refund the full cost of travel tickets to passengers after a two-hour delay, the Minister of Aviation has revealed.

Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika made this known on Thursday at the weekly State House Briefing in Aso Villa, Abuja, following his visit to the Senate Committee on Aviation for an interactive session.

He read out some of the rights of aviation passengers at the briefing and charged them to demand their rights whenever they were being trampled upon by airlines.

“On domestic flights, delay beyond one hour, the carrier should provide refreshment, and one telephone call, or one SMS, or one e-mail. They should send you an SMS or email or call you to say, ‘I am sorry, I am delaying for one hour.’

“Delay for two hours and beyond, the carrier shall reimburse passengers the full volume of their tickets.

“Delay between 10 pm and 4 am, the carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, two free calls, SMS, email and transport to-and-fro airport,” Sirika said, noting that the same rules would also applied to international flights.

The minister said his ministry had  started sanctioning some airlines defaulting on consumer rights but urged passengers not to be rude at airports.

Late flight cancellations and delays have characterised inter-city air transportation in Nigeria, with many passengers furious about 10 commercial airlines operating scheduled flights for keeping them waiting at airports for hours after their scheduled departure time.

According to Civil Aviation Act 2006 (CAA), under the NCAA Regulations (Part 19) and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act (FCCPA), when a flight delay lasts for two hours, the passenger is entitled to refreshment, and where the delay lasts for three hours, the passenger is entitled to a reimbursement.

A passenger is also entitled to transport and hotel accommodation where the flight delay falls between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am.

In 2019, there were 41,968 recorded incidents of missing and delayed luggage in Nigeria based on a report by the NCAA. Also, there were 65,401 flights in operation in the same year, of which 37,510, accounting for 57 per cent, were delayed and 356 flights, cancelled.

The operators hinged the r

    The airline operators, led by the Chairman of Air Peace Allen Onyema, on Tuesday, said when they appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation chaired by Senator Smart Adeyemi that non-availability and rising cost of aviation fuel, also known as JetA1,  were hurting the aviation industry.

    They further said that inadequate parking spaces at airports was also a major challenge.

    They demanded the prosecution of unruly passengers at the airports.

    Other reasons cited by Onyema were non-availability of foreign exchange for spare parts and maintenance, sudden change of weather, delay due to VIP movement, inefficient passenger access and facilitation, delay clearance of spare parts from Customs and inadequate screening and exit points at departure.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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