By Sade Williams
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has warned all irate and belligerent passengers carrying out attacks on Airline officials to desist forthwith or face criminal charges.
This warning became necessary due to preponderance of reports from some of the nation’s airports detailing brutal attacks on officials of airlines.
These attacks, the Authority, through its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, said are embarrassing and discourteous to such affected officials.
The Authority undoubtedly recognises that the operating airlines must at all times uphold the conditions of carriage and contract on each passenger’s ticket.
This means all passengers are conferred with inalienable rights when they are travelling by air. According to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part 19),it prescribes minimum rights for air travellers on the occurrence of any of the following – no show and overbooking of flight, denied boarding, delay and cancellation of flights etc.
These rights shall apply without prejudice to a passenger’s right under any applicable law or contract.
However, passengers are not expected to take laws into their hands if and when there are operational hiccups which are capable of truncating air services.
All over the world, overbooking, denied boarding, delay and cancellations similarly occur in extraneous circumstances.
The Authority explained as contained in Part 19.7.2 Airlines have the obligation to inform passengers on cancellation, an explanation shall be given concerning possible alternative transport.
Also in Part 19.7.3 an operating airline shall not be obliged to pay compensation for cancellation if it can prove that the cancellation was caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
Part 19.7.4 the burden of proof concerning any question as to whether and when the passenger has been informed of the cancellation of the flight shall rest with the operating airline.
“It therefore means that passengers should be guided that cancellations and any aforementioned scenarios can occur beyond the control of the airline in certain situations.
“On the other hand, when passengers are aggrieved, Part 19.20 states that a passenger may lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Directorate, or any other competent person designated by the Authority, about an alleged infringement.
“It is on record that the Consumer Protection Directorate (CPD) has handled and resolved several cases from aggrieved passengers to their satisfaction.
“Therefore, the Authority expects aggrieved passengers to recourse to the platform provided by NCAA to file their complaints and seek redress or compensation as the case may be. Subsequently, any passenger found carrying out attacks on airline officials will face criminal prosecution.
The NCAA is statutorily empowered to provide an enabling environment for a safe and secure air transportation. It will however, not allow any airline official’s life to be ridiculed publicly or endangered.