Appalling services fuel assault rate on airlines’ staff, facility destruction

  • Operators threaten to prosecute offenders

Nigerian airline operators have vowed to nip in the bud the incessant attacks on airlines’ staff and facilities by irate passengers.

The operators assets and personnel are fast becoming endangered species, thanks to the country’s poor aviation security and regulatory institutions.

The inability of many of the carriers to offer quality passenger services coupled with frustration encountered by travelers has led to frequent assaults on airline workers.

 “These are some other people’s children, husbands, brothers, and uncles, and they are above all, human beings. It should stop before it gets to a situation where we begin to think of self-defense,” he added.

Experts in the aviation sector admitted that there has been a rise in passenger abuse of airport workers, describing  it  “as very disturbing.”

A passenger who spoke to Aviation Metric at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2)  yesterday, who simply gave his name as Franklin said, “This sort of thing where you book a flight for 7.30 am because you have an important business meeting somewhere to preside over or even a wedding or burial by 10 am and you leave your house to go to an airport before 5.30 am for a 7.30 am flight only to be told that the flight has been rescheduled to 10 am and then moved to 12noon, and from there to 4 pm, is capable of making any sane person go crazy,” said Noah.

However, operators under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), have threatened to prosecute aggrieved airline passengers that resort to destroying property or assaulting Airline staff.

The group, speaking against the backdrop of the recent attack on the properties and staff of Dana Air by passengers, said such passengers will henceforth be arrested and prosecuted.

According to the spokesman of AON, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, and titled, ‘AON Condemns Attack on Dana Air Property’, a copy of which was made available to New Telegraph, the group said such unruly passengers risk blacklisting and also banned from being carried by other members of the group.

He said such legal action may come by way of criminal action or civil suit.

AON further stated that air transport users who have issues with any operator have legally sanctioned avenues to seek redress.

According to the group, destroying airline property and assaulting staff of airline companies constitute criminal breaches and are not part of avenues sanctioned by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Competitions and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC).

“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.

“Recall that Dana Air passengers on July 21, 2022, physically descended on, and damaged, the company’s property at the domestic wing of Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, over the unexpected and unintended cancellation of their flight in what is now a force majeure.

“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 passengers of the development and the cancellation of their flights.

 “However, it is uncivilized for passengers to take laws into their hands by destroying Dana Air property when there are approved mechanisms for redress.

Some existing Nigerian airlines

“As an association, AON will no longer watch passengers destroy the property of its affiliate members without adequate response. Henceforth, AON shall activate all available legal avenues to ensure that passengers caught destroying the property of her members are brought to book and made to pay for such destructions.

“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 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 travel ban on member airlines.

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

Wole Shadare