Air Nigeria’s operations are currently suspended.
A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Air Nigeria to pay N5 million to Hakeem Ogunniran as damages for cancelling his flight from Nigeria to South Africa.
Justice Okon Abang gave the order while delivering judgment in a suit filed by the plaintiff against the airline over loss of business due to cancellation of flight.
M. Abang awarded the sum as general damages for the inconvenience and emotional trauma suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
“The defendant ought to have put in place measures to ensure that a passenger does not incur further expenses where there is a flight cancellation.
“The defendant is hereby ordered to refund to the plaintiff the difference in value of the cost of the plaintiff’s business class ticket,” the judge said.
The court also ordered the defendant to refund the cost of the economy class ticket of the alternative airline which the plaintiff was eventually made to fly.
“The defendant is also ordered to pay the expenses which the plaintiff incurred on his journey back to Nigeria through Ghana, as well as cost of township transportation in Ghana,” the judge ruled.
The judge added that the airline should pay post-judgment interest on the damages sum per annum, until it was fully liquidated.
Mr. Ogunniran filed the suit in December 2012, claiming damages for loss of business due to a cancelled flight by the airline.
The plaintiff averred in his statement of claim that he had paid for a business class ticket for a business trip from Nigeria to South Africa on the defendant’s airline on December 14, 2012. He said that on arrival at the airport and after waiting for several hours, it was announced that the flight had been cancelled.
“I was so devastated that I sat on the floor of the departure hall of the airport in anguish over the loss of my business opportunity worth millions of Naira,’’ he said.
The plaintiff further averred that the defendant paid no compensation to affected passengers, but only left them to their fate. He said he was forced to fly by an alternative airline the following day, while he lost his business deal.
The plaintiff therefore sought an order of court to direct the airline to compensate him for all the losses he suffered due to its negligence.
Air Nigeria’s operations are currently suspended as the company and its owner, Jimoh Ibrahim battle several suits and government probes including allegations of forgery and tax evasion by the Federal Inland Revenue Service.