International airlines operating in the country have proposed US$400 instead of US$600 as compensation for passengers if they are denied boarding on a flight for which they have a reservation.
The airlines’ proposal comes on the heels of a draft Ghana Civil Aviation (Economic) Directive on Consumer Protection that seeks to award US$600 to international airlines’ passengers as compensation in cases of denied boarding on a flight due to overbooking or a sudden change in aircraft type.
Country Manager of South African Airways and president of the airlines’ association in Ghana, Gloria Yirenkyi, at a stakeholders meeting proposed US$400 as a fair compensation to be paid passengers if an air operator reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight.
Simon Allotey, Director-General of the GCAA, told the B&FT after the meeting that: “We have taken all that has been said on board, and we are going to do further consultations about the various proposals such as reduction in the compensation for international passengers from US$600 to US$400; the proposal to use a percentage of the base fare, and other suggestions made.”
He indicated that though the Authority had earlier sought to implement the directives this year, it may have to wait till next year and thoroughly consult with all stakeholders.
“We will have to hold on and finish all consultations and probably start implementation next year,” Mr. Allotey said.
The Directives, a copy of which is available to the B&FT, provide that if a passenger is to be denied boarding on a flight due to overbooking or a sudden change in aircraft type, the airline operator must first call for volunteers.
If an insufficient number of volunteers come forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the air operator may then deny boarding to passengers against their will – for which denied passengers will be entitled to US$600 as compensation and a reimbursement of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought.
The draft Directives became operative following the ratification of the Montreal Convention in 2015 by Parliament.
Compensation for Regional & Domestic Pax
Regional and domestic airlines’ customers are also expected to receive US$300 and US$50 respectively in cases of denied boarding, if the draft directives stay the same and are implemented next year.
“As airlines, we will do our best to ensure the safety and comfort of all our passengers,” Ms. Yirenkyi assured.