As part of efforts to further enlighten air travellers in the event of flight delays or cancellations by airlines, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has stated that it would soon commence public sensitisation.
The agency also said that the law on 100 per cent refund on air tickets in case of three hours delay is not novel to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation (NCAR), stressing that it was gazetted by the Federal Government and has been in existence since 2015.
The Director-General of NCAA Capt. Musa Nuhu, disclosed this in an interview with aviation journalists at the weekend in Lagos .
Nuhu stated that the agency would in the coming weeks commence enlightenment drive to passengers,adding that this would enable them to respond appropriately in case their rights are trampled upon by airlines.
According to him, before the 2015 amendment to the extant regulations, airlines were supposed to pay 100 per cent compensation to passengers after two hours of delay, but the regulatory agency amended it to three hours to accommodate the complaints of the domestic airlines and to ensure fair play for all.
Nuhu posited that whatever the Aviation Minister, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said on compensation, recently was not new, stressing that the Minister did not reinventing the wheel.
He, however, clarified that in case of natural phenomenon, the airlines would not be sanctioned by the agency, describing it as a force majeure.
The NCAA boss stated that airlines were given Air Operators’ Certificates (AOCs) based on the fact that they would comply with civil aviation regulations and that once any of the carriers is found wanting, the agency would not hesitate to sanction such an airline accordingly.
Nuhu frown at a situation where most passengers don’t report to the regulatory agency whenever their rights were trampled upon, pointing out that very soon, NCAA would commence a campaign to educate the travelling public on their rights and the available report channels.
“The minister was just referring to NCAA in his statement. Before the amendment to the regulation, airlines were supposed to pay full compensation to air travellers the moment their flight is delayed for two hours, but during the review, the operators complained that the two hours was too short. Then, it was extended to three hours.
“We will implement the new law to the letter, but if the consumers don’t complain, how can we know? We need to educate the passengers about their rights. All airlines were given AOCs based on the fact that they will comply with the regulations. During our surveillance, if we find out that they don’t comply appropriately, we will sanction.
“But, on the issue of force majeure, you can’t sanction them. It is an act of nature and even, the law recognises this,” Nuhu said.
The NCAR 2015 Section 184.108.40.206 as amended indicated that for domestic flights, when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure, it would provide the passengers with reason(s) for the delay within 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time.
It states that after two hours, refreshments as specified in section 19.10.1 (i) and telephone calls, SMS and e-mails as specified in section 19.10.2; while beyond three hours, reimbursement as specified in Section 19.9.1(i) and (iii) at a time beyond 10 pm till 4 am, or at a time when the airport was closed at the point of departure or final destination, the assistance specified in sections 19.10.1 (iii) and 19.10.1(iv) (hotel accommodation and transport).
For international flights, the regulation stipulates that when an operating air carrier reasonably expects a flight to be delayed beyond its scheduled time of departure, it would provide to the passengers between two and four hours, compensation as specified in sections 19.8.1 (i) and telephone calls, SMS, e-mails as specified in 19.10.2.
Besides, it said for a flight that is delayed for more than four hours, meal as specified in 19.10.1 (ii) and telephone calls, SMS, e-mails as specified in 19.10.2 and (iii) when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least six hours after the time of departure previously announced, the hotel accommodation assistance as specified in sections 19.10.1 (iii) and transport assistance as specified in 19.10.1(iv).
On compensation, the regulation provides that passengers would receive at least 25 per cent of the fares or passenger ticket price for all flights within Nigeria and 30 per cent of the passenger ticket price for all international flights.