August 4, 2016 By Joseph S. Margai
Officials of Royal Air Maroc in Freetown yesterday clashed with aggrieved passengers over missing luggage.
The passengers, who were angry that the Moroccan airline has failed to return their missing luggage days after they arrived in Freetown, stormed the airline’s office.
According to one of the aggrieved passengers, Mohamed Rogers, he came to collect his luggage but instead witnessed an ugly confrontation between airline officials and other passengers over missing luggage.
“I have been waiting for my luggage for the past six days now but the office has not addressed my problem. This is not the first time that this has happened to us. Many times, the officials here are so rude to us,” he said and added that it was very frustrating for passengers to arrive at the airport without their luggage containing personal wears and gifts for family and relatives.
He disclosed that since he arrived in Freetown almost a week ago, he has had to put on a single cloth because his luggage is yet to arrive.
He demanded that officials at Royal Air Maroc give him his luggage, while lamenting the treatment given to passengers by the airline’s staff.
A female passenger who did not state her name said she was yet to collect her luggage two days after landing at the Lungi International Airport.
“Royal Air Maroc is cheap to travel with as compared to other flights, that’s why most people travel with it. Other flights, even though they are expensive, do not give passengers such problems that Royal Air Maroc has been giving passengers,” she said.
Another passenger, Komba David Sandy, said he travelled on an Air Maroc flight since last Friday after he switched from Air France in Paris before transiting in Casablanca en route to Freetown.
“When I reached Casablanca I asked for my luggage and I was told it is safe, but when I reached Freetown they could not provide it for me. Most times, when other flights get stranded, they will transfer the passengers to Royal Air Maroc,” he said.
A Sierra Leonean worker at the airline, Ibrahim Kuyateh, blamed a female passenger for instigating the fracas.
“She came on Tuesday to the office and I told her that her luggage has not yet arrived and that she should come on Wednesday. When she came on Wednesday, I told her again that her luggage is yet to arrive, and she brought thugs and they vandalised the entire office,” he alleged.
He added the airline had lodged a formal complaint to Police at Central Police Station, who are now investigating the incident.
Head of Operations at Central Police Division, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Musa Bangura, confirmed they had received a distress call that someone was trying to vandalise the Air Maroc office, adding “I sent personnel there at once.”
“We referred the matter to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police to investigate it because Air Maroc made an allegation that they lost eight thousand dollars (US$8,000),” he explained, adding that airline officials also alleged that their computers were damaged by persons who were not even their passengers.
Meanwhile, when our reporter approached one Mohamed Randon, an official of Royal Air Maroc in Freetown, he rudely said he was not going to talk to any journalist.
Onlookers and passengers at the office of Royal Air Maroc in Freetown