The Federal Government on Thursday directed that airline operators in the country to ensure full refund of travel tickets costs to passengers after a two-hour delay.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while making this disclosure at the weekly State House media briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, spoke on the rights of aviation passengers and charged air travellers to always demand for their rights whenever they are being violated by airline operators.
The minister said: “On domestic flights, delay beyond one hour, carrier should provide refreshment, and one telephone call, or one SMS, or one e-mail. They should send you an SMS or email or call you to say, ‘I am sorry, I am delaying for one hour’.
“Delay for two hours and beyond, the carrier shall reimburse passengers the full volume of their tickets. Delay between 10pm and 4am, carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, two free calls, SMS, email and transport to-and-fro airport,” Sirika said, adding that the same rules apply for international flights”, he added.
According to him, his ministry has started sanctioning some airlines who default on consumer rights, cautioning, however, that air travellers should eschew all forms of unruly acts at the airports.
It would be recalled that in recent times, airlines have become noted for flight cancellations and delays an ugly development that has subjected to air travelers to serious hardships.
Some of the reasons usually adduced by the airline operators for such flight cancellations and delays are non-availability and rising cost of (JetA1) aviation fuel, and inadequate parking spaces at airports.
For instance, the Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, on Tuesday adduced these reasons on Tuesday when the airline operators appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation chaired by Senator Smart Adeyemi.
Other reasons listed by the Air Peace Airline Chairman include, non-availability of forex for spare parts and maintenance, delay due to VIP movement, inefficient passenger access and facilitation, sudden change of weather, delay clearance of spare parts from Customs and inadequate screening and exit points at departure.