An Ethiopian plane at the Abuja International Airport. The Nigerian court found that Ethiopian Airlines breached the contract of carriage with the aggrieved passengers by its failure to give notice of its flight cancellation/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

Nigerian court fines Ethiopian Airlines for cancelling flights without notice

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded a fine of N6 million (€11,500) as general damages against Ethiopian Airlines Ltd. for cancelling three Nigerians’ flights without due notice to the plaintiffs.

In his ruling, delivered recently and published on Friday, Justice Adekunle Faji also awarded another sum of N1 million as the cost of the action.

The sums were awarded in favour of the plaintiffs, the 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.

In the suit filed on April 27, 2018, the plaintiffs 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, in his judgment, also held that the defendant 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, as required by the NCAA Regulations.

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

With this decision, the court has established the principle that the cancellation of flights by airlines without due notice to the passenger may render the airline liable.

Kola Tella, Lagos

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