Airlines send strong warning to 'angry' passengers


Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

By Yunus Yusuf

The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), the umbrella body of all airline companies operating in Nigeria, has said that henceforth, aggrieved passengers who destroy properties belonging to any airline or assault airline staff, will be arrested and prosecuted.

This is contained in a statement signed by the spokesman for the AON, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, and made available to newsmen in Lagos on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some Dana Air passengers had on July 21 physically descended on and damaged the company’s property at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, over cancellation of their flight.

Okonkwo said that such passengers risk blacklisting and also banned from being transported by the members of the group.

The group said that such legal action might come by way of civil suit against passengers who chose to be unruly and uncivilised in their behaviours.

The AON said that air transport users who have issues with any operator have legally approved avenues to seek redress.

According to the group, destroying airline’s property and assaulting staff of Airline companies constitute criminal breaches and are not part of avenues recommended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Competitions and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPA) to seek redress.

The statement titled: ‘AON Condemns Attack on Dana Air Property’ reads: “The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) condemns, in very strong terms, the attack on the property of Dana Air by passengers whose scheduled flights were affected by the grounding of the airline for operational audit.

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“Dana Air is currently undergoing an operational audit as ordered by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

” We understand that Dana Air, as a responsible member of this association, had activated its feedback mechanism to inform its passengers of the development and the cancellation of their flight.

” However, it is uncivilized for passengers to have taken the laws into their hands by destroying Dana Air’s property when there are approved mechanisms for redress,” the statement said.

Okonkwo said that as an association, AON would no longer watch passengers destroy properties of its affiliate members without adequate response.

He said that, henceforth, AON would activate all available legal avenues to ensure that passengers caught destroying properties of her members are brought to book and made to pay for such.

“Once again, AON reminds consumers of the services of her members that no law permits the destruction of company property, and, or, physical assault on Airline staff as a form of redress.

” We make bold to say that such actions will be pursued from both criminal and civil law perspectives and may also include blacklisting and imposing travel ban on such members of the public by the airlines.

” We encourage aggrieved passengers to explore NCAA’s approved avenues for redress, including options at Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) as the airline staff that were assaulted, and properties damaged, cannot make up for whatever is the unintended consequence(s) of flight cancellations or delays, ” he added. (NAN)

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