Monday, February 15, 2021

4 passengers drag Arik Air to court over flights cancellation, demand N5m damages 


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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Four passengers have dragged Arik Air Limited before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja over alleged abrupt cancellation of their flight schedules without notification.

The plaintiffs, Sadiq Usman, Luqman Hussain, Muhammad Danazumi and Zubair Usman prayed to the court to order the airliner to pay them the sum of N5 million as damages, for causing “irremediable inconvenience, transportation, hotel accommodation, loss of valuable time, physical and mental torture, steep financial losses and psychological trauma occasioned by the actions and inactions of the defendant”.

In a writ of summon served by their counsel, Musa Danladi, dated December 31, 2020, the plaintiffs also prayed to the court to order Arik Air to pay the sum of N204,213 to the four affected passengers, namely;  for specific damages, representing the total amount they paid for flight tickets.

The in the writ of summon, obtained by DAILY NIGERIAN, the complainants also asked the court to direct the defendant (Arik Air) to pay them the sum of N1,500,000 for cost of litigation.

This newspaper gathered that the airline company had on October 22, 2020 cancelled all its flights at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja without notifying the passengers that had already bought tickets for traveling to various destinations.

The company had also failed to inform the affected passengers of its decision to cancel the flights schedules and it is yet to reimburse their ticket fares.

In protest to the arbitrary decision, four of the passengers, decided to drag the airline company to the High Court in Abuja to seek redress.

Through their counsel, the plaintiffs told the court that the incident is a breach of valid and legal contract after they booked tickets and the company scheduled the flights at 11:15am from Nnamdi Azikwe airport and arrive Yola International Airport at 12:35pm on flight W3 838 on the said date but consequently, the company cancelled the flight schedules.

They stated that there was a breach of valid and legal contract between the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Plaintiffs and the Defendant to return them from Yola International Airport on the October 24, 25 and 27, 2020 respectively, to NnamdiAzikwe International Airport, on flight W3 839 as the air tickets have clearly shown, but the company failed to do so.

The plaintiffs also accused the defendant of a breach of the National Civil Aviation Regulations and in violation of the Plaintiffs’ rights when it failed to notify them of the cancellation of flight W3 838 to Yola, at least 24 hours before the scheduled time of departure.

They also declared that the defendant is in direct breach of the National Civil Aviation Regulations and in violation of the plaintiffs rights when it failed to offer them immediate reimbursement in cash following the abrupt cancellation of flight W3 838 to Yola.

They further accused the company of direct breach of the National Civil Aviation Regulations and violation of the plaintiffs’ rights for failing to offer assistance in the form of hotel accommodation and transportation within the time limits set out by the regulations to the them (plaintiffs) following the cancellation of flight W3 838 to Yola.

The summon therefore stated that “the Defendant may appear thereto by entering appearance personally or by a Legal Practitioner(s) either by handing in the appropriate forms, duly completed, at the Registry of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja Division or by sending them to that office by post.

“If the Defendant (s) does not enter appearance within the time and at the place above – mentioned, such orders will be made and proceedings may be taken as the judge may think just and expedient,”

The court is yet to fix date for mention of the case.

Speaking with DAILY NIGERIAN correspondent, one of the plaintiffs, Mr Danazumi expressed optimism that the court would do justice to the case as the company has nothing to defend before it.

He lamented that after the incident, the airline company had neither contacted them through any means to explain the reason for the cancellation, nor had it refund the money they used to buy tickets.

“They are yet to even contact us, either through text message, phone calls or email to even apologize and make our ticket open for use in future.

“At least, they don’t have anything to defend themselves before the court. They cancelled the flights schedules abruptly without notice. They are also yet to contact us to tell us the reason for that and the next line of action,” Mr Danazumi lamented.

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