Air Peace, Overland, Azman, Dana, Max Air and Arik Airlines had over 55% of their flights delayed in Nigeria in 2021. Overland, Azman, Dana Airlines led the pack with 84%, 64%, and 64% of their flights delayed in the year under review.
This was confirmed in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s Executive Summary, which was obtained by Nairametrics.
According to the document, 10 domestic airlines operated 74,537 flights conveying 12,050,264 passengers in the year 2021.
Highlights of the summary
Overland leading with 84% of its flights delayed.
Azman and Dana Air had 64% of their flights delayed.
United Airlines had 63% percent of the flights operated in the year under review delayed.
Max Air also delayed 61% of its flights.
Arik Air delayed 57% of its flights.
Air Peace, which operates the highest number of flights per day, had 55% percent of its flights last year delayed.
Aero Contractors delayed 54% of its flights while Green Africa had 50% of its flights delayed.
Ibom Air on its part had the least percentage of flight delays with just 26% of its flights delayed.
10 domestic airlines operated 74,537 flights conveying 12,050,264 passengers in the year 2021.
What this means
Out of the 74, 537 flights, 41,328 of the flights representing 55% were delayed while 542 flights were cancelled. This means that virtually all domestic airlines delayed their flights, which most times do not come with compensations, and this is gradually becoming a norm in the aviation industry.
This came amidst rising complaints from passengers over flight delays which have worsened in recent times, despite several warnings and measures introduced by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.
What experts are saying about the trend
Banji Ajayeoba, an Aviation Consultant, explained that before now, sanctions such as fines and revocation of operating licences were imposed on defaulters, depending on what the regulations says in NCAA Act.
He said, “Sanctions are not only in monetary terms. Sanctions is proportional to offence, depending on what is laid out in the books. Some applicable sanction could be letter of warning or suspension of operations or revocation of license. But I considered these not stringent enough, as they give room for airlines to easily explain delays and go scot-free.
“I understand that flight delays could be caused by bad weather, technical fault, operational reasons, but it is largely caused in Nigeria due to lack of capacity or equipment. When the delay is caused by bad weather or technical faults, the airline involved enjoys pardon from the regulatory authorities as these factors are many times beyond the control of the airline. But when the delays are avoidable and caused by lack of capacity or equipment, there are recommended sanctions by NCAA, in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, conventions.”
Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, explained that the agency had warned all airlines to always adhere to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs 2015) and Passengers Bill of Rights in their dealings.
In an interview with Nairametrics, he had said passengers must get value for their money, hence, “NCAA will not refrain from applying sanctions where appropriate.”
He said, “If you delay a passenger for up to two hours, you have to give him or her some refreshments. You must have a way of compensating them until the flight is announced. There are many reasons for delays and cancellations. Most of them are safety-based.
“When safety is involved, we don’t discuss comfort, and we even encourage airlines to delay or cancel flights whenever they have technical issues or weather-related issues. So, when an airline can prove to us that it delayed a flight due to safety, then, they are off the hook, and that won’t attract sanctions.”
Every passenger has a right to be informed of the reason for a delay within 30 minutes after departure time.
When the delay lasts for 2 hours, the passenger is entitled to refreshment, and where the delay lasts for 3 hours, the passenger is entitled to a reimbursement.
A passenger is also entitled to transport and hotel accommodation where delay falls between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am.
A passenger is entitled to compensation by an airline where there is a cancelled flight, unless the said passenger is informed of the cancellation at least 24 hours before the scheduled departure time.
Passenger placed on lower-class ticket
Where an airline places a passenger in a class lower than that for which the ticket was purchased, the said passenger is entitled to a reimbursement within 30 days from the date of travel.
The airline is also required to make an additional payment of 30% and 50% of the price of the ticket for domestic and international flights respectively.
A passenger is entitled to immediate monetary compensation by the airline in the event of a baggage delay, as well as the carriage of the said delayed baggage on the next available flight.
How to get compensation/punitive orders
If passengers are not granted an audience after foregoing rights are violated or abused, they are expected to either submit complaints to the Customer Affairs Unit of the NCAA or file an action in court to enforce a passenger’s right.
However, it should be noted that such action, under the NCAA, has to be instituted within two years of its occurrence.
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