NCAA Threatens To Sue Passengers Over Attacks On Airline Officials
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned irate and belligerent passengers carrying out attacks on airline officials to desist forthwith or face criminal charges.
An on online statement issued by the General Manager, Public Relations, Mr Sam Adurogboye explained that this warning became necessary due to preponderance of reports from some of the nation’s airports detailing brutal attacks on officials of airlines.
He said that these attacks are embarrassing and discourteous to such affected officials.
The authority, he said undoubtedly recognises that the operating airlines must at all times uphold the conditions of carriage and contract on each passenger’s ticket, adding that passengers are conferred with inalienable rights when they are travelling by air.
He cited the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part 19),which prescribes minimum rights for air travellers on the occurrence of any of the following – no show and overbooking of flight, denied boarding, delay and cancellation of flights etc.
These rights, he said shall apply without prejudice to a passenger’s right under any applicable law or contract.
He however posited that passengers are not expected to take laws into their hands if and when there are operational hiccups which are capable of truncating air services, adding that all over the world, overbooking, denied boarding, delay and cancellations similarly occur in extraneous circumstances.
“As contained in Part 19.7.2 Airlines have the obligation to inform passengers on cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport. Also in Part 19.7.3 an operating airline shall not be obliged to pay compensation for cancellation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken” The statement said.
It continued, “Part 19.7.4 the burden of proof concerning any question as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating airline.”
The statement added that what this means is that passengers should be guided that cancellations and any aforementioned scenarios can occur beyond the control of the airline in certain situations.
The statement also pointed out that when passengers are aggrieved, Part 19.20 states that a passenger may lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Directorate, or any other competent person designated by the authority, about an alleged infringement.
It reminded passengers that it is on record that the Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) has handled and resolved several cases from aggrieved passengers to their satisfaction.
The statement added that the authority expects aggrieved passengers to recourse to the platform provided by NCAA to file their complaints and seek redress or compensation as the case may be, adding that any passenger found carrying out attacks on airline officials will face criminal prosecution.
NCAA ,the statement said is statutorily empowered to provide an enabling environment for a safe and secure air transportation. It will however, not allow any airline official’s life to be ridiculed publicly or endangered.