Tackling Flight Delays Proactively: Insurance to Rescue Stranded Passengers

Delays and flight cancellations are not planned; they result from unforeseen occurrences.

The consequences of such disruptions are far-reaching.

Recently, the minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo stated that airlines would soon be required to compensate passengers if reasons given are not natural.

In this special report, our correspondent Nosa Aituamen explores reasons beyond natural occurrences that could be the cause for delays and cancellations.

Air travel, while fast and convenient, is not immune to disruptions, and issues like delays and cancellations can throw passengers off balance.

These problems become particularly frustrating when passengers have business appointments, meetings, deliveries, or connecting flights, leading to financial loss and missed opportunities.

Airlines often attribute these occurrences to factors beyond their control, such as weather, inadequate airport infrastructure, personnel shortages, power supply issues, and scarcity of aviation fuel.

Spokesman, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, emphasizes that most of the time, it is not the airlines’ fault.

“What causes delay, it is 99% outside the operator’s even if you provide all the facilities in this world, there must always be delay and the only thing to do when flights are delayed, it is to reschedule. When this thing happens here, people call for the head of the operators”.

However, sometimes delays and cancellations are indeed the fault of airlines due to inadequate aircraft, technical issues, and crew shortages.

Unfortunately, this truth is not always communicated to passengers, leaving them in limbo and sometimes leading to unruly behavior.

The Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Chris Njomo, assured that consumer protection regulations would be invoked.

“We will ensure that airlines care for passengers for flight Disruptions and that their rights are always protected”.

In response to public outcry, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development Mr Festus Keyamo met with operators and vowed to address the problem.

He acknowledged that delays could sometimes be the fault of the agencies involved, and based on this, they are involving insurance companies to assist affected passengers.

“The insurance companies have undertaken to ensure their flight tickets, the moment there is a delay or there is cancellations, customers who are willing to quickly catch the next flight, the insurance company will pay for the ticket on the spot, the details are being worked out but we have come to a preliminary agreement they are prepared to go with us on that”.

An airline operator, Captain Ado Sanusi raised the question of who will compensate airlines for delays and cancellations due to infrastructure deficits.

“Infrastructure might cause the delay, we have only one X-ray machine working and there is a congestion so, who pays the delay? So, I think it is a good idea to say that, the airlines should take responsibility but also the parastatals to also take responsibility for that the delays. Everybody should take responsibility”.

Recognizing the infrastructure deficit, Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Olubunmni Kuku stated that efforts are underway to address the issue.

“There has to be a solution because we cannot afford to keep this going, we owe it to our passengers, we owe it to ourselves. It is our core responsibility at FAAN to provide a good passenger experience with good infrastructure, safety and comfort”.

While flight delays and cancellations cannot be entirely eliminated, proactive measures and collaborative efforts are essential to minimizing their impact.

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