The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has expressed concern over increase in the spate of flight cancellations in the country.
Recently, many of such cancellations were attributed to inadequate supply of aviation fuel, but the regulatory body warned airlines to desist from arbitrary cancellation of flights, citing fuel scarcity.
It said instead of bringing passengers to the airports and later disappoint them, the airlines should make proper projections to know the number of flights they operate in a day, in view of the prevailing scarcity.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, NCAA said several reports from the Consumer Protection Officers (CPOs) and aggrieved passengers have inundated the regulatory authority’s offices from across the nation’s airports.
“Notwithstanding, the regulatory authority is very much aware of the prevailing challenges as regards aviation fuel, it is expected that the airlines should follow strictly the requirements Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs)in carrying out their operations.
“The circumstances should not open a window for outright impunity and a flurry of cancellations which has consequently rendered air travel in the country a nightmarish experience,” NCAA said.
It therefore warned all the airline operators to adhere to the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) while dealing with passengers many of whom have parted with their hard earned cash in return for comfort and value while commuting to their destinations.
“Therefore sufficient notice must be accorded all intending passengers prior to any operational cancellation. Where there is a delay in the service, passengers must be duly informed and light refreshment provided.
“Operators are advised to ensure tickets are not sold to air travellers when there are perceived or real hitches concerning sourcing of aviation fuel (Jet A1),” the regulatory authority said.
NCAA said while it was not unmindful of the efforts being made by the airlines to avoid operational hiccups, passengers are similarly enjoined to exercise restraint and cooperate with airline officials during eventualities.
“It is noteworthy that the Federal Government of Nigeria is already taking measures that would ameliorate the paucity of aviation fuel. These steps would guarantee availability and allow operators provide adequate services.
“However, NCAA wishes to reiterate that all airlines should henceforth guard against frequent flight cancellations that will jeopardise the conditions of carriage agreed with the passengers.
“The authority has therefore intensified monitoring at all the nation’s airports. Subsequently, any unjustifiable or avoidable flight cancellation will be viewed with utmost seriousness and where culpability is established very stiff sanctions will be applied,” the authority said.