The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), which is the umbrella body of all airline companies operating in Nigeria, on Thursday vowed that aggrieved passengers who destroy airline property or assault airline staff will be arrested and prosecuted.
The AON also said that such passengers risk blacklisting while they would be banned from being airlifted by members of the group.
The AON’s statement followed the attacks on Dana Air counters and its staff by angry passengers at the airport after the Airline’s operation was grounded by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Daily Trust reports that following the suspension of Dana Air’s licenses, the passengers who were scheduled to travel with the airline the following day besieged the Airline’s counters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport domestic terminal two (MMA2) destroying everything in sight while attacking staff of the airline.
Dana Air is currently undergoing an operational audit as ordered by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The spokesman of the AON, Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, condemned the attack on the property of Dana Air by passengers, saying any passenger with issues with any operator has “legally sanctioned avenues to seek redress.”
According to the AON, destroying airline property and assaulting staff of an Airline Company constitutes criminal breaches and are not part of avenues sanctioned by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Federal Competitions and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
The statement said: “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.
“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 flight.
However, it is uncivilized for passengers to take laws into their hands by destroying Dana Air property when there are approved mechanisms for redress.
“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.
The statement further read, “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 are assaulted, and property that is damaged, cannot make up for whatever is the unintended consequence(s) of flight cancellations or delays.”