Flight delay, cancellation: NCAA vows to sanction erring airlines

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has vowed to sanction any airline found to be involved in deceitful departure time scheduling of flights when they know they would not be flying at that time.

Airlines passengers recently complained of some commercial airlines scheduling flights when there are no planes available and this has led to arbitrary delays, merging of flights or at worst, total cancellations of flights.

Some passengers said this made some of them who are rushing for early engagements end up been disappointed due to delays or flights cancellations.

The director, consumer protection and public affairs of NCAA, Michael Achimugu, while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, said the agency has engaged airlines repeatedly in this aspect.

He further noted that the acting director general of the NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo has directed that henceforth, “the authority will monitor the activities of these airlines and sanction anyone found going against aviation roles. “

According to him, “Recall that when the current NCAA acting director general assumed office, he made sure that there was ease of doing business.

“Right now, the time of getting AOC is quite shorter and easier compared to years ago. Therefore, the NCAA expects reciprocity from operators, chief of them been to provide world-class services to passengers.
“If the NCAA is making it easier for operators to work, it is expected that passengers must be satisfied. Lately, it has been observed that there are some infractions. Some airlines are been reported to be advertising deceitful departure times.
By the NCAA regulations, especially part 19 states that “no airline shall display deceitful time on counter or its website.

“We want to make it very clear that the DG CAA has instructed officers and other inspectors to begin to monitor the activities of airlines in this regard and defaulters are going to face serious sanctions. Let it be clear that Capt. Chris Najomo believes in discipline, safety and economic regulations. This is evident in the recent suspension of ten PFC holders for failure to comply with recertification of their licenses.”

He also warned that the NCAA will go after airlines who refuses to refund passengers after cancellations of flights.

He explained that the standard role of airline operations is that payments made in cash are refunded over the counter immediately while payments made through transfers or other online transactions are refunded within two weeks.

He noted that anything outside of these, will not longer be acceptable.

According to him, “Another issue we want to address today is the issue of time frame for refunds and compensations. The regulation states that if a passenger has made payment during securing tickets by cash, the passenger must be refunded by cash immediately at the terminal. We have stated this over time.

“Some airlines comply, while others don’t. The regulations also said that if a passenger has made payment for tickets online or via transfer, the airline has 14 working days to make refund.

“There is a lot of default in this regard and the consumer protection department has made a lot of progress in educating the airlines and passengers and even ensure refunds which has attracted the commendation of the minister of aviation and aerospace development, Festus Keyamo. However, we have more work to do here to ensure full compliance by airlines,” he said.

On the suspended private jets licences, the NCAA maintained that the ten airlines were suspended for failing to come for recertification and discussions are ongoing to address their challenges, while urging the public to be patient and wait for outcome of the process.