Recent reports by Nigerian media suggest a curious case of a court battle. The supreme court of the country has reportedly ordered to seize Emirates Boeing 777 aircraft, worth over $375 million in list prices, over a $22 thousand “judgment debt” in a ruling in a twelve-year-old case of a canceled flight.
Emirates’ refused flight case
Back in 2007, a passenger, identified as Promise Mekwunye, brought Emirates tickets for a journey from the United States to Lagos (Nigeria) via Dubai (UAE) with return via the same route, court documents show. The tickets that cost $2,067 were purchased seven months before the travel date (in late December 2007).
On December 17, 2007, Mekwunye arrived to Dallas to begin the journey to Nigeria. However, there she was denied boarding with “no reason” given, despite the fact that the tickets had already been confirmed three times, is outlined in the documents.
Eventually, the passenger did purchase new tickets to Nigeria with American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) for $3,200. The latter flight took place two days later, December 19, and with one additional stopover (London, UK).
This is where the battle over compensation claim begins. The aforementioned document references at least three rounds of court battles, including a court judgement in November 2010, which found that refusal to carry the passenger “amounts to a breach of contract of carriage”. Reportedly, the airline has appealed this and subsequent rulings.
Emirates 777 to be seized over $22K claim?
Now, media reports indicate that the conflict has finally come to an end, but the solution appears to be not the one Emirates could have bargained for. The airline has reportedly been ordered to pay up NGN 8.1million ($22,331) judgement debt. Until then, one of its aircraft, a Boeing 777 or any other that flies to Nigeria, is to be detained with maintenance and custody costs left to the airline.
“It is accordingly ordered that an attachment is hereby issued on the judgment debtor’s aircraft registered as ‘A6 Aircraft Type 77W EK: 783/784’, or any other aircraft belonging to the judgment debtor which flies into Nigeria Territory, to be arrested and detained until the judgment debt is fully paid: in default after 30 days, the aircraft shall be auctioned to satisfy the judgment debt,” the judge in the case is cited as saying by the Vanguard.
Emirates operates daily flights from Dubai (UAE) to two cities in Nigeria: Lagos and Abuja, flightradar24.com data shows. No flights appear to be canceled as of yet.
All flights are operated using Boeing 777-300 aircraft, which is worth $375.5 million in list prices.
AeroTime News has reached out to Emirates airline for comment.