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Cape Town – Air safety and how passengers are being treated both by airlines and fellow passengers is a hot topic right now – the latest United Airlines issue being a major case in point.
A recent local incident has just surfaced as South Africa’s low-cost airline, Flysafair was forced to remove a passenger after alleged racist threats were made on a flight boarding for departure to Port Elizabeth on Friday, 7 April.
Footage shared on Twitter shows a couple addressing one of the cabin crew with their complaint about a fellow passenger sitting across the aisle from them.
The man had allegedly insulted another passenger by calling him an “asshole” and threatening violence, only to then reference further implied racism by saying “you people are all the same”, when the couple who had lodged the complaint told him his behaviour was unacceptable.
The couple have since been identified as Nthabi and Sanele Sibanda, a Wits University professor, according to a twitter user Jacqueline Rainers who retweeted the video saying the Sibanda’s are her relatives.
FlySafair spokesperson Kirby Gordon confirmed the airline is aware of the incident and that FlySafair is fully prepared to co-operate with the investigation by authorities as required.
“We are aware of an altercation that took place between two passengers on flight FA232 on Friday 7 April and we are awaiting approach from the authorities to provide any required information that would be required to resolve this case,” says the airline.
“It is the obligation of the Captain of an aircraft to make the final call regarding his view on any potential threats on board the aircraft.
“In accordance with this, we would like to commend the Captain for following Civil Aviation Safety procedures. Safety is, and will always remain our primary concern.”
Youtuber, Sibu Mpanza also shared footage of the incident, with comments adding to the debate around the incident.
One user, Nicci Gericke wrote “Ah I never saw this but this was amazingly well handled. I would’ve kicked him off too if I had the power. Good for the people who stood up against that guy. Sis. They’re making us whiteys look bad.”
Also another user, Dirty Casual, says that the passenger accused of racist comments in the video “was 100% in the wrong”.
“I’ll be the odd one out then (White guy) and say that the white man in the video was 100% in the wrong. We don’t really know what happened before the video started to make him that aggravated but that gets thrown out once he refers to the person race. The fact that people also clapped him off the plane suggest he might have been the instigator at the start. So props for the people and the captain/co-pilot on the plane for handling the situation that well.”
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1. The candidate must be a member of the SAC.
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The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has suspended two regulatory actions on the US civil aviation initiated in the final days of the previous Administration. The Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Display of Ancillary Fees would have allowed the government to dictate how airlines sell and distribute products and services, and the Request for Information on Airline Distribution Practices would have allowed the government to interfere in the commercial relationship between airlines and their distribution partners.
Since the airline industry was deregulated four decades ago, federal agencies have imposed insulated judgment about consumer preferences and misguided notions of how the market should function. Today, the airline industry operates under 13,000 regulations across 13 agencies, many of which are outdated, obsolete and in need of reform, Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the major U.S. airlines, stated.
“We applaud Secretary Chao’s leadership today and look forward to an era of smarter regulation that protects consumers from unfair practices, but does not step in when action is not warranted,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Today’s action is a common sense measure reinforcing that the airline industry is capable of making the decisions that best serve our customers, our employees and the communities we serve.”
Flying today is more accessible and affordable than ever, and satisfaction is high. According to A4A’s Status of Air Travel in the United States annual survey, 85% of 2016 passengers said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied,” indicating that carriers are responding to the needs of passengers and activist over-regulation is not warranted.
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