A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has awarded a fine of N6 million as general damages against Ethiopian Airlines Ltd. for cancelling three Nigerians’ flights without due notice to the plaintiffs. Ethiopian Airlines
In his ruling on Friday, Justice Adekunle Faji also awarded another sum of N1 million as the cost of the action.
The plaintiffs include Madakin Zazzau, Munir Jaafaru; his wife Hadizat Jaafaru, and their daughter, Hafsat Jaafaru. This was account of the hardships, stress, and inconvenience caused them by the airline’s cancellation of their flights. The cancellation was without notice.
The suit was 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. This they did by cancelling the flights without due notice and for the consequent hardships, stress, and inconvenience. Ethiopian Airlines
Justice Faji, in his judgment, also held that the defendant was bound to give notice of the flight cancellation to the plaintiffs. Therefore, having not shown proof of such notice, its action was in breach of the contract of carriage.
He also found that the defendant breached the contract of carriage with the plaintiffs. This they did by its failure to give notice of its flight cancellation, as required by the NCAA Regulations.
The judge noted that this caused the plaintiffs hardship, stress, and inconvenience in rescheduling their flights. They were on a family trip in a foreign land.
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.