26th October, 2010
Worried over the plight of passengers in the hand of airline operators, the ConsumerÂ Protection Council (CPC) has warned that it will not hesitate to take disciplinaryÂ action against any airline that continues to maltreat its passengers.
InÂ a letter recently addressed to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, theÂ Director General of the council, Mrs. Ify Umenyi noted that in the last one month,Â her office has received numerous petitions from airline passengers who had beenÂ maltreated in one way or the other by airlines operating in the country.
She urged the regulatory agency to curtail the continued suffering of NigerianÂ passengers by prevailing on operators in the industry to, amongst other things,Â overhaul their general operation and information disseminaton.Â Mrs. Umenyi saidÂ that it is worrisome that airlinesÂ abuse the rights of their passengers withÂ impunity.
“The most worrisome of all is the fact that in as much as it has become a norm forÂ consumers to furnish airline ticketing officers with theirÂ telephone contacts whileÂ purchasing their tickets, such contact numbers are scarcely used to advice consumersÂ on the status of their flight before getting to the airport. This happens even whenÂ it may have been known to the operator before hand that a flight will not beÂ operated as scheduled”
While conceding to the fact that different factors like bad weather, technicalÂ hitches and operational challenges in the form of disruption in fuel supply couldÂ occasion delays and cancellation of flights under shot notice, she noted that it isÂ against international norms andÂ global best practices for consumers to be deniedÂ any form of compensation.
She warned thatÂ though airlines may have been getting away with all these in theÂ past due to the lack of existing passenger right laws in Nigeria, the council mayÂ Â soon employ actions that may result in untoward consequences for the airlines if theÂ trend continues.