The Director, Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Alhaji Adamu Abdullahi says flight delays and cancellations due weather are unavoidable in the global aviation industry.
He said with the recent flight diversion and delays due weather that despite this, the NCAA would ensure that the rights of the flying public were not trampled upon by airlines and other organisations in the sector.
Speaking on the development, Alhaji Abdullahi said, some of the delays were due to operational and safety reasons like weather and mechanical failure, stressing that the agency would not sacrifice safety for passengers’ comfort.
Apart from safety and operational reasons, he declared that NCAA has had cause to sanction erring airlines for fulfilling their obligations to passengers, but said such sanctions were not for public domain.
He said: “Delays and flight cancellations are inevitable in the aviation industry. They must happen. The regulations realise that. That is why we looked at it and we decided to ensure compensation to passengers. However, I will prefer to call it refreshments for the passengers, rather than compensation.”
“If you delay a passenger for up to two hours, you have to give him some kinds of refreshments. You must have a way of compensating him until the flight is announced. There are many reasons for delays and cancellations. Most of them are safety based. When safety is involved, we don’t discuss comfort and we even encourage airlines to delay or cancel flights whenever they have technical issues or weather related issues.”
To ease plights of air travellers at the airports, Abdullahi stated that NCAA had deployed standalone screens at various airports in the country where passengers’ rights and responsibilities are scrolled regularly with adverts from organizations, noting that whatever revenue earned from the advert would be ploughed back into the industry.