Administrative Law

Compensation For Delay In Air Travel In Nigeria

The increased insecurity and the debilitated state of the Nigerian roads have made air travel in Nigeria an essential means of transportation. Human interactions are not always devoid of conflicts, hence disputes between airline operators and passengers have become a new trend in Nigeria. The latest in the news cycle is the incident between air peace and the emir of kano  Aminu Ado Bayero.

It all started, when the chief protocol officer of the Emir called the founder of the air carrier, Air Peace,  Allen Onyema, requesting him to delay the airplane for an hour, which the founder refused and the Emirate took it as an affront to the Emir. However, the chief operating officer of the air carrier Toyin Olajide gave a different account of the event which transpired, according to the COO, they received the request on the grounds that delaying a flight on the request of the Emir will lead to a public outcry.

Now, this begs the question, in the event that a scheduled flight is delayed, what actions can the passengers take, and what remedies are available to the passengers of the air carrier?

In the event that a flight is delayed, you can bring an action in negligence. Negligence is be defined as a breach of duty to take care that results in damage to another person. This is also be defined as failure to exercise a standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation.

The rationale for this tort is to seek redress for damages which has been suffered as a result of the negligence of another person. This arises when there is a duty of care and then there is a breach of the duty. Duty of care is the duty a person owes in law to be careful so that his conduct will not injure another person.

A branch of this tort is professional negligence, this is misconduct, committed in the course of practicing one’s profession. This is a liability incurred in the course of practicing one’s profession. This is as a behavior considered by the governing body of a profession to be unworthy of a member of the profession and which calls for appropriate sanction.

Going by the foregoing definition it is an act or set of acts prohibited by a professional or regulatory body. Every occupation has a professional body that regulates the conduct of members, examples are the Nigerian Bar Association which all lawyers in Nigeria are members of, Nigerian Union of Journalist to which all journalists are members of the Nigerian Union of Teachers whose membership are constituted by teachers, etc.

The regulatory body in charge of aviation operators in Nigeria is the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, empowered by the Civil Aviation Act 2006 to regulate civil aviation, grant license, and perform other incidental functions conferred on it by the act.  Another law regulating air travel both within and outside Nigeria is the Montreal convention 1999 for the unification of certain rules for international carriage by air

Domestic Flight

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation 2015 deals with consumer protection, and it specifies what domestic flight operators ought to do when they reasonably expect flights to be delayed beyond the scheduled time of departure, it ought to provide the passenger with reasons for the delay within 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time and assistance as specified

  1. Delay For Two Hours: the air carrier ought to provide refreshment to passengers like waters, soft drinks and snacks while awaiting departure.  
  2. Delay Beyond 3 Hours: passengers are entitled to reimbursement in cash, electronic bank transfer, bank orders and bank cheque or with signed agreement of the passenger in travel vouchers or other service of the full cost of unutilized ticket at the price at which it was bought for the part or parts of the journey made
  3. At Any Time Beyond 10pm Till 4pm  : also when airport is closed at the point of departure or final destination. Passengers are entitled to transportation between the airport and hotel or place of accommodation
  4. Compensation: Passengers are also entitled to compensation for 25 % of the flight ticket expended

International Flight

  1. Delay Between Two And Four Hours : passengers are entitled to 30% of flight ticket price, phone calls, sms message
  2. More than 4 hours passengers are entitled to meal, free phone calls, free sms and emails
  3. Six hours after the time of departure:  Passengers are entitled to hotel accommodation and transportation to and from the hotel

By virtue of article 19 of the Montreal convention in the second schedule of the civil aviation act, the airline operators will be held liable when it is proven by the passengers that all measures specified above were not taken. The liability of the carrier to each passenger is the sum of $4150 (Four Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty Dollars only)


Part 19. 6 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation 2015

Part 19.8 of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation 2015

Chapter 1, Article 1 of Civil Aviation Act 2006

Chapter 19, Article 19, of the Civil Aviation Act 2006

Section 30 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006


About Joshua Owie

My name is Joshua Owie, I am an associate with Legal Assent, a full-service law firm based in Abuja, I hold a master's degree in investment law and policy from Nasarawa state university, keffi Nasarawa State, I hold a bachelor's degree from Igbinedion University Okada 2015 and I was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2017. I have worked across all spheres of legal practice, from litigation to commercial and property law.