Airports firm to pay compensation after semi chaos

Fri Jul 9, 2010 5:39am EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Soccer fans who missed the World Cup semi-final between Germany and Spain due to flights chaos in Durban will be partially compensated, airports officials said on Friday.

Hundreds of soccer fans missed the match between the two European soccer giants on Wednesday after chaos at the airport in the coastal city delayed their landing or forced planes to turn back.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) said bad weather, larger than expected traffic and VIP planes which refused to move from the airport -- as had been agreed in advance -- caused the chaos at the new Durban King Shaka International airport.

Some 600 passengers missed the match after six planes were forced to either return to Johannesburg or Cape Town, or divert to other airports.

ACSA Chief Executive Monhla Hlahla officially apologized for the airport disarray, a rare blemish on the so far successful hosting of the World Cup, held on the continent for the first time, which has gone without any major glitches.

"We have decided that we will put aside a small amount of money to the tune of 400,000 rand ($52,850) to compensate (passengers)," she told Talk Radio 702.

This might not be enough to compensate many fans. Some said they spent up to 30,000 rand on flights and match tickets.

Stranded passengers, who spent thousands of rand on flight and match tickets, were outraged by the mismanagement that led to the problems.   Continued...