By Mike Ojo
A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday fined Ethiopian Airlines Ltd N6million for cancelling three Nigerians’ flights without due notice.
Justice A. O Faji awarded the damages in favour of the Madakin Zazzau, Alhaji 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.
The judge delivered judgment in the plaintiffs’ favour in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/657/2018.
The Plaintiffs’ instituted the action via an April 27, 2018 Writ of Summons seeking amongst others a declaration that the airline contravened Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Regulations, 2015 by cancelling the flights without due notice and for the consequent hardships, stress and inconvenience.
The court in its judgment agreed with Counsel to the Plaintiffs, Emeka Opara Esq. of Kenna Partners and held that the Defendant was bound to give notice of the flight cancellation to the Plaintiffs and having not shown proof of such notice, was in breach of the contract of carriage.
The court also found that 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 which caused the Plaintiffs who were on a family trip in a foreign land hardship, stress and inconvenience in rescheduling their flights.
Consequently, it awarded N6Million as general damages in favour of the Plaintiffs and N1Million in favour of the Plaintiffs as cost of the action.
This landmark decision establishes the principle that cancellation of flights by airlines without due notice to the passenger may render the airline liable.