SriLankan ordered to compensate injured passenger

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered SriLankan Airlines to pay a compensation of Rs 1.8 lakhs to a passenger who fell from the step-ladder of an aircraft.

Justine Austin, who hails from Mayyand in Kollam, is the petitioner. Austin who was travelling from Muscat to Thiruvananthapuram on a SriLankan Airlines flight fell down while deplaning at Colombo Airport for catching the connecting flight to Thiruvananthapuram. He fell down from the step-ladder owing to the rush of passengers from behind. Austin suffered serious dental injuries in the mishap.
Though the matter was taken up with the airline authorities, they refused to pay compensation.

Subsequently he approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum through advocates Francy John and S.Reghukumar. The Commission headed by Justice K. R. Udayabhanu observed that the airline is responsible for any mishap caused to a passenger during a journey, other than those caused by the passenger’s negligence.

The compensation is being paid with interest. The lawyers said that it is the first time in the country that an airline in being ordered to give compensation to a passenger for injury caused during a journey.
The order was issued under the Carriage by Air Act.

A SriLankan Airlines spokesman said it is the usual practice to pay compensation as the airline is liable for such accidents. However he said he cannot comment on the particular incident as the legal department was closed.

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