A Federal High Court, Lagos, on Tuesday awarded N5m to a passenger, Hakeem Ogunniran, as damages for the cancellation of his flight from South Africa to Lagos without compensation by Air Nigeria.
Justice Okon Abang, in his judgment held that the airline’s negligence caused business and financial losses as well as emotional trauma and stress to the passenger.
The plaintiff had alleged that though he had booked for Air Nigeria Business Class ticket, he eventually took the Economy Class of South African Airways following the cancellation.
The plaintiff also noted that in his return journey to Nigeria, he incurred additional cost, having transited through Ghana, where he paid extra cost for township transport.
The judge frowned on Air Nigeria for subjecting its passenger, who paid a Business Class seat, to stress by the sudden cancellation of the flight without an adequate alternative arrangement or compensation.
The judge ordered the airline to refund the difference in value of the cost of flight and as well as the township transport.
He awarded the N5m “as general damages for the inconvenience and emotional trauma suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s shoddy and callous handling of his flight from South African to Nigeria.”
He said the airline should also pay post-judgment interest on the N5m per annum for the period within which it would fully pay the judgment debt.