Passengers patronizing Ghana’s airports would be experiencing improved services, as the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, GCAA, gets ready to introduce a new directive on consumer rights by June this year.
In the past months, the issue of consumer protection has attracted increasing attention, highlighted by instances of air travel disruptions due to overbooking, flight cancellations among others.
In response to the recent happenings, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority has announced it is speeding up the process to have a directive on consumer rights come into force by June this year.
“We have come out with draft directives on consumer protection and consumer rights and we have engaged the various stakeholders on it and so we are hopeful that mid-year the policy will come into implementation,” Simon Allotey, Director-General of GCAA told reporters in an interview.
The Aviation Minister Cecelia Dapaah earlier cautioned British Airways to improve their services to Ghana or face sanctions.
She was alarmed at the report of bed bugs in some of the British Airways flight, which has become a great source of worry to some Ghanaian passengers.
The recent incidence that ensued between tap Air Portugal and three women; where the women were allegedly abused after being denied boarding and the cancellation of an Africa World Air Flight heading to Tamale are instances that might have triggered such a move by the GCAA.
A brief on air passenger rights
Consumer rights are regulations designed to ensure that services rendered to consumers are fit for purpose.
Generally, there are stipulated directives protecting the interests of consumers in international carriage by air under the International Air Travel Association (IATA).
For instance, Article 19 of the convention states, “The carrier is liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo.
Nevertheless, the carrier shall not be liable for damage occasioned by delay if it proves that it and its servants and agents took all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damage or that it was impossible for it or them to take such measures.”
According to current trends, airlines adapt to laws akin to the region where they operate such as regulations under the EU air passenger rights Law or the US Air passenger rights.
In Africa, many consumers of African air transport services are not protected by any institution against poor service delivery and are mostly unaware of any rights they may have against the various service providers.
Although some African countries have regulations aimed at the protection of rights of air transport there is a strong push for countries to have a specially developed aviation consumer rights laws to protect its passengers.