Compulsory Care for Passengers of Cancelled Flights.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Compulsory Care for Passengers of Cancelled Flights.

Compulsory Care for Passengers of Cancelled Flights. Daily Law Tips (Tip 769) by Onyekachi Umah, Esq., LL.M, ACIArb(UK).

Introduction: 

There can be cancelled flights for many reasons. For every time there is a cancelled flight, passengers of such flight (domestic or international) suffer different forms of hardship. Airlines operators that cancel flights are by law mandated to refund passengers’ air fares. Delay in sending notice of cancellation of flight as well as a late cancellation of flight may cause airlines more than refunds, and force airlines to provide some free care to passengers. The free care ranges from free snacks, free meals, free accommodation to free calls, depending on the level of hardship caused by the airline. 

Sabi Law On The Beat Fm

However, to ensure standard and recommended practices and maximum compliance, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has not left free care to the discretion of airline operators. Rather the “NCAA” has in its; the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015, defined and established the compulsory free care that airline operators must provide for passengers of cancelled flights (domestic or international). The compulsory free care must be provided where there is a delay in communicating cancellation of flight or a late cancellation of flight.

Notice of Cancellation, Passengers and Care: 

NCAA is the federal regulator for all commercial airline operators and their staff. It regulates all local and foreign commercial airline operators in Nigeria. In 2015, the NCAA made the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015 while relying under its powers contained in a federal law (the Civil Aviation Act, 2006). Part 19 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015, focuses on consumer protection; providing redress for common passengers’ complaints, including; overbooking, delayed flight, cancelled flight both for domestic and international flights as well as for delayed, lost and damaged baggage. 

Call for Legal Awareness Articles in English or Pidgin Languages.

According to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015, where there is a cancelled flight and the passengers were not timely informed about the cancellation, the airline must provide free care to its passengers, including; 

  1. Free refreshment including water, soft drinks, confectionaries or snacks; 
  2. A free meal 
  3. A free hotel accommodation
  4. Free transportation between the hotel and the airport
  5. Free two telephone calls, SMS or e-mails.

An airline is deemed not to have provided timely notice of cancellation of flight to passengers, where;

1. For domestic flights, there is not at least within 24 hours before the departure time of the flight 

2. For international flights, there is not at least 7 days before the departure time of the flight. Passengers of international flights can also be informed with 3 to 7 days before the departure time so far as they are offered a re-routing, a re-routing that allows not more than 2 hours earlier departure from the departure time of the cancelled flight and to reach final destination within not more than 4 hours from the earlier scheduled arrival time of the cancelled flight.  Also, passengers of international flights can also be informed within less than 7 days before the departure time, so far as they are offered a re-routing, a re-routing that allows not more than 1 hour earlier departure from the departure time of the cancelled flight and to reach final destination within less than 2 hours from the earlier scheduled arrival time of the cancelled flight.

Conclusion: 

Aside the refund of air fares or rerouting of passengers, where there is a late cancellation of flight or delay in communication of cancellation of flight, the airline must provide some free care to passengers. The law will never allow a wrong to pass without a remedy. The hardship caused on passengers by airlines are to be resolved by the airlines. The free care to be provided by airlines are mandatory having been made by a federal law (the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015) and as such comes with serious punishment for any airline or its staff that breaches the law. 

Sabi Law On BeatFm

Generally, the maximum punishment for an airline is N5, 000,000.00, the moderate is N2,000,000.00 and the minimum is N500,000.00. The maximum punishment for staff of an airline is N200,000.00, the moderate is N100,000.00 and the minimum is N50,000.00. The punishment for any airline that fails to obey the directives of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), or to investigate any case of passenger on compensation, is moderate penalty of N2,000,000.00 or suspension of license. Where there is a cancellation of flight, the sanction for failure to render assistance is from moderate to maximum civil penalty. And failure to process ticket refund within time is also punishable with refund of the ticket and an additional 5% of the ticket value.

The NCAA may not often know when an airline breaches the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Regulations 2015, fails to refund fares or to provide care to a passenger. Hence, it is the duty of an aggrieved passenger to make complaints to the NCAA or to engage the services of a lawyer and approach a court. Sending complaints to the NCAA does not prevent an aggrieved passenger from filling a case in a court. The appropriate court here, is the Federal High Court. 

My authorities, are:

  1. Sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
  2. Sections 1, 2, 27, 30, 31, 54, 61, 63, 71, 78 and 79 of the Civil Aviation Act, 2006.
  3. Sections 1.1.1.2, 1.3.3.1, 1.3.3.2, 19.1, 19.2, 19.7, 19.8, 19.9, 19.10, 19.13, 19.14, 19.16 and 19.20 (Parts 1 and 19) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015. Accessible for free via https://learnnigerianlaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/NCAA-Regulations-2015.pdf
  4. Table 1- Table of Civil Penalties of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015.
  5. Sanctions VII, Para 5, 10 and 11 of Table 2- Recommended (Part 1) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, 2015.
  6. Onyekachi Umah, Compensation for Cancelled Flights (Domestic & International) (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 24 March 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/compensation-for-cancelled-flights-domestic-international/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  7. Onyekachi Umah, “Unlawful Refund Policy and Practice of “Aero Contractor” Airline” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 15 March 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/unlawful-refund-policy-and-practice-of-aero-contractor-airline/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  8. Onyekachi Umah, “Deadline for Refunds for Cancelled Flights” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 11 March 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/deadline-for-refunds-for-cancelled-flights/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  9. ”Onyekachi Umah, “Why You Can’t Get Compensation for Cancelled Flights” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 3 March 2021) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/why-you-cant-get-compensation-for-cancelled-flights/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  10. Onyekachi Umah, “The Two (2) Rights Of Any Person Whose Local Or International Flight Is Cancelled In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 27 November 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/the-two-2-rights-of-any-person-whose-local-or-international-flight-is-cancelled-in-nigeria/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  11. Onyekachi Umah, “Dangerous Flying” Is An Offence In Nigeria” (LearnNigerianLaws.com, 21 September 2018) <https://learnnigerianlaws.com/dangerous-flying-is-an-offence-in-nigeria/> accessed 6 April 2021.
  12. Pic credit: the active times.com

Sabi Law Projects:

#SabiLaw

#DailyLawTips

#SabiBusinessLaw

#SabiElectionLaws

#SabiHumanRights

#SabiLawOnTheBeatFm

#SabiLawLectureSeries

#CriminalJusticeMonday

#SabiLawVideoChallenge

Speak with the writer, ask questions or make inquiries on this topic or any other via onyekachi.umah@gmail.com, info@LearnNigerianLaws.com or +2348037665878 (whatsapp). To receive free Daily Law Tips, join our free WhatsApp group via https://chat.whatsapp.com/L7h4f1exItZ38FeuhXG4WN or Telegram group, via the below link: https://t.me/LearnNigerianLaws

To keep up to date on all free legal awareness projects of Sabi Law Foundation, follow us via

Facebook Page:@LearnNigerianLaws,

Instagram:@LearnNigerianLaws,

Twitter: @LearnNigeriaLaw,  

YouTube: Learn Nigerian Laws, 

WhatsApp Groups via (https://chat.whatsapp.com/L7h4f1exItZ38FeuhXG4WN),

Telegram Group: (https://t.me/LearnNigerianLaws),

Facebook group: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/129824937650907/?ref=share)

or visit our website: (www.LearnNigerianLaws.com)

Please share this publication for free till it gets to those that need it most. Save a Nigerian today! NOTE: Sharing, modifying or publishing this publication without giving credit to the author or Sabi Law Foundation is a criminal breach of copyright and will be prosecuted. This publication is the writer’s view not a legal advice and does not create any form of relationship. You may reach the writer for more information.

This publication is powered by www.LearnNigerianLaws.com {A Free Law Awareness Program of Sabi Law Foundation, supported by the law firm of Bezaleel Chambers International (BCI).} Sabi Law Foundation is a Not-For-Profit and Non-Governmental Legal Awareness Organization based in Nigeria. For sponsorship and partnership, contact: sponsorship@learnnigerianlaws.com, sabilaw.ng@gmail.com or +234 903 913 1200.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply