The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has condemned in strong terms the growing trend of violent attacks on airline staff and facilities at the various airports by passengers over flight delays or cancellations

In a statement made available on Friday night AON called for cessation of such attacks, saying it cannot sit back and fold its hands while personnel and properties of its members suffer violent attacks.

“The Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has observed with serious concern, the trend of violent attacks on airline staff and facilities at the various airports by passengers over flight delays or cancellation. We are concerned that these violent attacks have gone on unrestrained across major airports across the country and therefore, strongly, and without equivocation, condemns them and call for immediate cessation,” said AON.

“We feel the pain and frustration of travelers over delayed or cancelled flights due to the disruptions such bring to their plans, and make good to remind the travelling public that no airline operator deliberately delays or cancels flights because the aircraft is meant to be in the air and not on ground. Aircraft on ground, which is a huge loss to operators and impacts negatively on the economy of our dear country, is, however, mostly, for safety and so many reasons outside the control of operators. For this reason, AON has been at the front of seeking more effective ways to mitigate factors that cause flight delays and huge economic losses to the country.

“However, we believe that the trend of violent attacks on airline staff and facilities have to stop. There have been instances where airline staff have been physically injured by passengers. Airline property running into millions of naira have also been destroyed by passengers.
Those airline staff and facilities are not cause of flight delays.” AON appealed.

The airline operators also noted: “Violent attacks on airline staff, occasioning physical harm, is not a civilized and matured way for passengers to register their disappointments over flight delays or cancellations. There are better ways to do this which are also spelt out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in its manuals. Passengers can also pursue their rights through the Consumer Protection Council.”

Meanwhile AON has called  on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to improve security across the airports especially, as it relates to security of airline staff and property. Just as it informed passengers that airline staff have rights and can use available legal means to enforce those rights and seek redress

It warned that its members may have to explore legal option if the attack continues; since  no one is permitted, by law, to take laws into their hands.

While assuring the commitment of its members to do all that is humanly possible to minimize incidences of flight delays and cancellations and remain focused on on-time flight operations, AON insisted that further violent attacks on airline staff and facilities would not be tolerated.