Passengers on Med-View Airline flight VL2120 and VL2118 scheduled to travel from Lagos to Kaduna and Abuja on Sunday, August 13, 2017, have dragged the airline before the Federal High Court in Lagos over the alleged cancellation of their flight.
The suit was filed by Maj. Gen. Obidah Ethan (retd.) and Kayode Babalola on behalf of themselves and 29 other passengers who bought the airline’s flight tickets.
The claimants are each seeking N1m as general and aggravated damages and another N1m as exemplary and punitive damages against the airline for what they termed negligence on the part of the airline.
They are also praying the court to put the cost of filing the suit on the airline.
In their statement of claim, the plaintiffs averred that their flight was scheduled for 4pm on Sunday, August 13, 2017, adding that some of them had arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos as early as 2pm.
They, however, claimed that after they had completed all check-in procedures, the airline announced that their flight had been shifted from 4pm to 6pm.
But according to them, not only did the plane fail to take off by 6pm; there was also no further announcement until 7.30pm.
They claimed that even so, the 7.30pm announcement “did not offer any reason for what had now become a three-and-a-half-hour delay.”
They claimed that when they approached officials of the airline, the officials claimed to be ignorant of the reason for the delay.
“Following verbal protests from passengers, one of the defendant’s officials gave further assurances that the flight would definitely operate on that day, Sunday, August 13, 2017, when she came to the boarding gate at about 8 pm.
“Contrary to this, however, after prolonged waiting, it was realised that both the Skyview Aviation Handling Company Limited and the defendant airline officials had absconded from the airport.
“Shortly after this realisation, there was an announcement over the public address system at about 10pm that the flight had been cancelled.
“Thus, the plaintiffs and other passengers were abandoned at the airport and ultimately airport security and armed policemen were drafted to disperse the identified passengers to evacuate the airport.
“There was no consideration by the defendant airline for the plight of the stranded identified passengers, some of who had deadlines to meet at their destinations.
“Vehement protest by stranded passengers resulted in haphazard and scanty accommodation for some of those affected. This did not materialise till about 12 midnight.
“The plaintiffs aver that due to the matters aforesaid, the identified passengers, who could not travel as scheduled and had no option but to fly the following day, were put to great stress, embarrassment, discomfort, inconvenience and loss by the wilful misconduct of the defendant’s airline,” the plaintiffs said.
They claimed that they later learnt that the aircraft initially scheduled to convey them was diverted to cater to international passengers.