Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority
The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that it will immediately review the services airlines provide passengers in the domestic and international operations with a view to ensuring that they are in tandem with the new conditions provided by the passenger bill of rights.
Henceforth, the regulatory body will have to enforce the compensation rules in the case of delays, cancellations of flights and also immediate refund of fares when flights are cancelled.
Spokesman of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said the Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) was bracing up to the challenge, noting that the objective was to ensure that passengers were protected from maltreatment meted out to them by airlines.
According to the new tariff, the airlines must inform the passengers of their rights.
“The operating airline shall ensure that at check-in, a clearly legible notice containing the text is displayed in a manner clearly visible to passengers: ‘If you are denied boarding or if your flight is cancelled or delayed for at least one hour, ask the airline officials for a written statement of your rights, particularly with regard to compensation and assistance.’”
The tariff said that an airline denying boarding or cancelling a flight shall provide each passenger affected with written notice setting out the procedures for compensation and assistance in line with these regulations. It shall also provide each passenger affected by a delay of at least one hour with an equivalent notice.
Adurogboye urged passengers to report to the CPD whenever any of these rights is abused by an airline and assured the regulatory body would swing to action.
One of the conditions given to the airlines is that every airline must establish a consumer protection desk at every airport it operates into and should appoint an officer to manage the desk for the purpose of receiving, resolving and channelling difficult complaints to their head offices, as well as liaising with NCAA where necessary.
On domestic flights, the tariff says that if an airline expects delay beyond its take-off schedule, it should provide the passengers the following assistance.
Immediately after one hour, the passengers should be served refreshments, given access to make telephone calls, send short message service (SMS) and e-mails.
Any delays of cancellation of flights from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am, the passengers should be provided accommodation and if the flight is cancelled the passengers should be refunded their fares.
The passenger bill of rights will be effective only if the rules are enforced and NCAA has promised to do this in order to encourage and protect passenger for the growth of the industry.
Industry observers criticise the regulatory body for not doing enough for the passengers in the past but Adurogboye said such criticism would soon be a thing of the past because with the new bill the rights of the passengers would not only be protected but they would be exposed to improved service by the airlines.