BY KENNETH EHIGIATOR
LAGOS – Following incessant flight delays and cancellations by domestic airlines in the country, the Federal Government is now to make it mandatory for airlines to interline, with a view to making passengers of delayed and cancelled flights fly with carriers not affected by the syndrome.
Besides, passengers are also to be compensated for the inconveniences caused by such action.
Government’s latest move is based on the recommendation of a committee set up by Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, which addressed the root cause of flight delays and cancellations suffered by passengers and for which no compensation is paid.
Since much of the problem had been attributed to independent marketers, with regard to aviation fuel supply, the government, according to the committee’s recommendation, is also to direct fuel marketers to increase the number of fuel bowsers and upgrade the old ones at the nation’s airports.
This is aside from encouraging airlines to improve their credit worthiness with the marketers.
The minister, in a statement issued by her Special Assistant, Media, Mr. Toyin Okpaise, in Abuja weekend, said; “following observations regarding delays and cancellation of domestic flights at all the nation’s airports, and worried by the lackadaisical attitude of airlines towards passengers’ discomfort, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah, in line with the current wave of transformational changes in the aviation sector, set up a committee to look into the causes of flight delays/cancellations and make recommendations on actions to be taken.
“The Minister considered and accepted the committee’s recommendations which includes, amongst others; that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority will expedite action on the inter-line arrangement among domestic airline operators to enable passengers of delayed/cancelled flights to connect their flights on other airlines.
“Furthermore, the airlines will be encouraged to improve on their credit worthiness with fuel marketers. Also fuel marketers will be directed to increase the number of fuel bowsers and upgrade the old ones at our airports.”
Okpaise also quoted the minister as saying that the Aviation Ministry would hasten the process of completion of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, regulation on passengers’ bills of rights, as contained in the Civil Aviation Act of 2006, in consultation with aviation stakeholders.
According to the minister, enforcement of the bill of rights will enable passengers receive compensation for any ill-treatment by airlines.
The minister also apologised to all travellers for any inconvenience and discomfort remodeling of airports across the country had caused them.