By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
Dana Air has condemned the actions of a passenger living with disability who was seen on a viral video destroying computers belonging to the airline at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja.
According to the airline, the passenger identified as Dr Chike Okogwu became angry and started destroying company property after being told of the airline’s policy stating that passengers with special needs are not usually flown at night but in the mornings.
Dana Air spokesman Kingsley Ezenwa said: ‘Our attention has been drawn to violent conduct by a passenger named Dr Chike Okogwu, on our staff and booking systems at our Abuja station yesterday the 20th of December, 2020
‘To put the issue into proper perspective, the said passenger who we regard as Special Passengers at Dana Air, got to our counter on December, 20th, 2020 at about 8 pm for his flight and when our duty manager noticed him in the midst of the upsurge of passengers, he approached him and politely explained to him that as a matter of policy, comfort and safety of our guests, we do not carry Special Passengers at night while offering to check him in first, on the 7 am flight the next day.
‘The said passenger refused the offer and went violent on the Duty Manager causing her injuries in the process. This same passenger also went further to destroy our check-in systems, chairs, COVID-19 Protective glass shields and weighing machines at our counter in Abuja. (We have our video evidence)
‘Dr Chike Okogwu has enjoyed the luxury of flying with us for many years even as other airlines have totally refused to even sell tickets to him as a result of his reputation of verbally attacking staff assigned to assist him whenever he is flying.
‘Dr Chike knows that Dana Air is among the few airlines that accept persons with disability with a policy which we expect them to follow strictly in their own interest and in the interest of safety.
‘While we acknowledge and regret the frustrations of our guests at this time and working round the clock to resolve the undesirable issues our guests are experiencing, we wish to state without an iota of doubt that Dana Air has never, and will never as a brand, discriminate against any passenger no matter the circumstance.
‘Dana Air will also not tolerate any acts of violence against any of its staff, passengers or property and as a law-abiding corporate citizen of Nigeria, we urge Dr Chike Okogwu to be civil in his engagements as everything we do at Dana Air will always be in the interest of safety.’
The airline also apologised for flight disruptions on Friday 18, and Saturday 19, December 2020, as two of its aircraft became unserviceable in Lagos and Abuja respectively, compelling the airline management to ground them.
The airline issued an apology appealing to its passengers and prospective flyers, assuring them that its team of engineers are on the situation.
‘On Friday 18, and Saturday 19, December 2020, two (2) of our aircraft became unserviceable in Lagos and Abuja respectively, compelling us to ground both aircraft in line with our strict safety standards and Global Best Practices
‘While our maintenance team have however been deployed to conduct proper checks on both aircraft, we wish to reassure our guests and crew that their safety will continue to be our priority in all circumstances and we would stop at nothing to guarantee this.
‘We understand that the travel plans, commitments, meetings and engagements of our guests have all been disorganised by this unanticipated development and we are deeply and sincerely sorry.
‘This is really not a good time for disruptions having increased our flights recently to meet the expectations of our guests and ensure no one is left stranded without a flight this yuletide, but we had no option than to ground both aircraft in the interest of the safety of our crew and guests while our other serviceable aircraft continue to operate as scheduled.
‘To compensate for this regrettable service failure, we are offering free tickets to all our guests on the affected flights, while full refunds will be made available to guests who do not prefer to be rescheduled.
‘We advise all our guests to contact us on all our available platforms to confirm the status of their flights before coming to the airport,’ Ezenwa said.