The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has said passengers who attack airline officials will henceforth face criminal charges.
It stated that passengers were not expected to take the law into their own hands when there were operational hiccups capable of truncating air services.
The regulator said on Sunday that the warning became necessary due to reports from some of the nation’s airports about brutal attacks on airline officials, adding that the attacks were embarrassing and discourteous to the affected officials.
It added that operating airlines must, however, uphold the conditions of carriage and contract on each passenger’s ticket at all times.
The NCAA, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, stated that passengers had some inalienable rights while travelling by air.
He said, “The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015 Part 19) prescribes minimum rights for air travellers on the occurrence of any of the following: no show and overbooking of flights, 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 the law into their own hands if and when there are operational hiccups, which are capable of truncating air services.
“All over the world, overbooking, denied boarding, delays and cancellations similarly occur in extraordinary circumstances. 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.”
The regulator advised passengers to be guided that cancellations and any of the aforementioned scenarios could occur in certain situations.
Adurogboye said passengers should lodge a complaint with the Consumer Protection Directorate of the NCAA, or any other competent person designated by the authority, about any alleged infringement of their rights