Harmattan: Flight delays, cancellations inevitable, says NCAA

As the harmattan haze returns to parts of the country, the Director, Consumer Protection Council of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Adamu Abdullahi, has said flight delays and cancellation are inevitable.

Abdullahi, on Tuesday, stated that globally, flight delays and outright cancellation over safety issues were unavoidable in the aviation industry.

The NCAA director told journalists that some of the delays could be due to operational and safety reasons such as weather, mechanical failure and Very Important Personality movements.

He said the NCAA would not sacrifice safety for passengers’ comfort.

Abdullahi, however, stated that despite this, the NCAA would continue to ensure that the passengers’ rights were not trampled upon by airlines and other service providers in the industry.

He said the regulatory agency had put a system in place to sanction erring airlines and ensure that they fulfilled their obligations to passengers in the event of flight delays or cancellation.

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 kind 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. So, when an airline can prove to us that it delayed a flight due to safety, they are off the hook.”

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