Consumer Protection: Ethiopian fined N7m for cancelling Nigerians’ flights without notice

*A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State in a judgement has established the principle, that cancellation of flights by airlines without due notice to the passengers may render such airlines liable

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For cancelling three Nigerians’ flights without due notice and the attendant hardships, stress, and inconvenience for consumers, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos State has awarded a fine of N6 million as general damages against Ethiopian Airlines Limited (fondly called Ethiopian).

It was gathered Justice Adekunle Faji, in his ruling Friday, March 26 also awarded another sum of N1 million as the cost of the action.

The court awarded the sums in favour of the plaintiffs, including Madakin Zazzau, Munir Jaafaru; his wife Hadizat Jaafaru, and their daughter, Hafsat Jaafaru, for the hardships, stress, and inconvenience caused them by the airline’s cancellation of their flights without notice.

It is recalled that in the suit filed April 27, 2018, the plaintiffs had sought among other things, a declaration that the airline contravened the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Regulations 2015 by cancelling the flights without due notice and for the consequent hardships, stress, and inconvenience.

Justice Faji also held that the defendant (Ethiopian) was bound to give notice of the flight cancellation to the plaintiffs, and having not shown proof of such notice, its action was in breach of the contract of carriage.

According to the Justice, the defendant breached the contract of carriage with the plaintiffs by its failure to give notice of its flight cancellation, as required by the NCAA Regulations.

The Presiding Judge noted that the development caused the plaintiffs, who were on a family trip in a foreign land hardship, stress, and inconvenience in rescheduling their flights.

The court, based on the judgement, is said to have established the principle, that cancellation of flights by airlines without due notice to the passengers may render such airlines liable in a court of law.

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