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Published On: Wed, Nov 20th, 2013

Aero Contractors Passengers Seek N175m Compensation for Overnight Delayed Fligh

LAGOS NOVEMBER 20TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Thirty four passengers of Aero Contractors Flight AJ132, who were stranded overnight at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, from Friday, November 8, are seeking a letter of apology and N5 million compensation each from the airline.
According to some of the passengers, the flight, which was scheduled to leave from Abuja to Lagos at 6:30 p.m., was delayed until the following morning; forcing them to spend the night at the airport.
The passengers were left stranded at the tarmac around midnight with no official of the airline on ground to attend to them. The airport currently has no resting area or hotel. The airline also violated aviation laws which state that passengers in such situation must be housed in a decent hotel by the airline, and fed.
“Some of us decided to go to sleep inside a plane as no other provision was made for us by Aero. The plane (on which they were supposed to leave) was locked, but there was another one nearby. About 30 passengers, including foreigners, therefore, went to sleep inside the other plane,” narrated Charles Musa, one of the passengers and a lawyer currently representing 33 other passengers.
The passengers were, however, asked to leave the plane by soldiers at about 3:00 a.m. on Saturday. Many of them ended up sleeping on the floor at the arrival lounge of the airport.
Mr. Musa said after the incident, the airline called to offer him one hour free ticket to anywhere in Nigeria as compensation.
“Aero called me to offer me a one hour free ticket to anywhere in Nigeria, which I think is grossly inadequate and low for the damages. I was told by 34 other passengers that Aero also called them to offer them one hour free ticket to anywhere in Nigeria but we all rejected such an offer,” he said.
The lawyer added that after speaking to the 34 passengers, he wrote a letter to Aero, on behalf of the passengers, issuing the airline a seven-day ultimatum – starting from November 13 – to write the apology letter and pay the compensation claim.
When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Aero’s station manager in Abuja, Teju Bello-Osagie, on efforts being made by the airline to compensate the aggrieved passengers, he said the matter was currently being handled by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
Some of the passengers had made official complaints of the incident to the NCAA. Aviation spokesperson, Yakubu Datti, had said that the NCAA received formal complaints from 12 passengers and that the matter was being investigated.
Efforts to reach Mr. Datti for the status of the investigation were unsuccessful on Tuesday as calls and text messages to his phone were not answered.
Source: Premium Times

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