In a move to empower air travelers, the House of Representatives is taking steps, through the amendment of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006, to recommend penalties for delay and cancellation of flights by airlines in the country.
The bill which is sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN, Lagos), scaled second reading, yesterday.
According to Gbajabiamila, history has shown that Nigerian airlines have little regards for passengers, which has made it necessary to compel them to adopt best practices as prescribed by international protocols.
“We are all witnesses to emotional trauma our passengers are going through in our airports. What is more disturbing is the fact that most of these delays are not just for one hour or two, but sometimes it takes up to six to seven hours, without any genuine reasons”, he said.
Though he noted that delays and cancellation of flights was not peculiar to Nigeria, he however frowned at the laid-back attitude of airlines and the regulatory authorities
He said: “What can be deduced from this is a total lack of respect for the flying passengers, which most times result to loss of important appointments. These things happen in Europe, the US and other places around the world, but penalties are applied in line with international best practices,” he argued.
The adjustment seeks to make the erring airlines to pay 30 per cent of the cost of the airfare to the passengers for up to three hours of delay, 50 per cent for four hours, or seven days suspension, as the case may be.
Aisha Ahmed (PDP, Adamawa) who also contributed, stressed that the penalties prescribed in the bill were in the Aviation policy. Hence the need to back them with legislation has become necessary.
“All airlines in this country are guilty of this, with long history of inappropriate penalties. Even foreign airlines are not excluded” she said.