Airlines to refund 25% to passengers for cancelled flights – NCAA

The Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Chris Najomo has said that from January 2024, airlines found wanting to have delayed passengers and whose actions cause delay or flight cancellations would be made to give affected travellers a 25 per cent rebate on their next flight with the airline.

Najomo stated this at a meeting with a group of aviation stakeholders in his office in Lagos on Tuesday, noting that the NCAA would make a wide range of decisions that would help the aviation industry in terms of consumer protection and airport certification.

He also promised new policies on the mode of handing over aerodromes to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria by the state government among others.

He said the directive had been communicated to the carriers, stressing that the action would engender efficiency in the sector that has made air travel no longer enjoyable as travellers continue to decry the attitude of many of the airlines and the total lack of consumer protection.

He, however, noted that some of the problems that cause flight delays or cancellations are caused by factors beyond the airlines’ control.

He further stated that the aviation regulatory body was doing so much in-house to reduce the menace that has taken the joy out of air travel.

Najomo said, “The airlines are biting more than they can chew. Lack of planning is causing some of the delays we are experiencing. Some airlines for instance have less than four aircraft and they want to fly all the routes. That is not possible because four aircraft capacity cannot sustain the type of operations you are doing.

“Some of the delays, and cancellations by Air Peace are because you want to go everywhere when there may not be adequate aircraft to cover that volume of operations”.

Najomo also said that a policy would be made to ensure that the state-owned airports are run by the state governments for at least five years before they are handed over to FAAN to manage.

According to him, out of the 32 airports in the country, only about six are viable — Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport Abuja, Port-Harcourt International Airport, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Owerri Airport.

He said the regulatory authorities are ‘forced’ to spend revenue earned from four viable terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano to subsidise operations in these other airports managed by FAAN.

From estimation, he said at least N400bn have so far been expended on such projects by the states, a development which observers reckon as a mere conduit to siphon public funds than for economic interests.

He added, “Many of these airports are for political reasons. Most of the airports are unviable; built without traffic in mind and leaving the burden to the Federal Government to shoulder. Airports should be a catalyst for economic development. It has to be well thought through. It becomes a problem when an airport will not generate economic returns.”

(Punch)

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