Serbia’s Civil Aviation Directorate has announced that Air Serbia acted in line with the rules when the carrier banned an autistic boy from one of its flights.
The Directorate announced that it launched an extraordinary inspection on August 10 of Air Serbia and Belgade’s Nikola Tesla International Airport in connection with the event that occurred on August 6, as passengers were checking in for flight JU184, bound for Tivat, in Montenegro.
“During the extraordinary inspection, it was established that the air carrier complied with the provisions of the procedures specified in the manual, and that there was no violation of the Law on Air Traffic and the Law of Obligations, or the basics of property-legal relations in air traffic,” the Directorate said in a report.
In the course of the extraordinary inspection, insight was also gained into the booking system records used by the air carrier, when t was established that the booking information concerning the passenger who was denied boarding did not state that he was a special needs passenger, the report added.
The Directorate also said that all passengers have the right to book special needs persons when booking tickets, in order for conditions to be provided for such persons to be received and given priority boarding of the aircraft.
The report states that the on-duty doctor at the airport assessed on the day that the passenger in question was not fit to fly at the given moment, and that a representative of the air carrier at the airport subsequently decided to refuse the passenger from boarding the aircraft.
The passenger in question is the 11-year-old son of well-known historian Cedomir Antic, whom Air Seria said it banned from boarding the plane as his behavior would have upset other passengers.
The company has told the daily Vecernje Novosti that they regretted any unpleasantness that this has caused to the family, but that the decision was made after the boy became “very agitated, and started to behave more aggressively while waiting in the check-in line.”
Antic, meanwhile, has announced a lawsuit, while the incident has been described as “absolutely discriminatory” and condemned by the chair of the Assembly Committee on Human and Minority Right and Gender Equality, Meho Omerovic, and Equality Commissioner Brankica Jankovic, as well as “the media and the public,” Tanjug is reporting on Monday.
Media reports these last days also cited the family as saying that the boy had traveled on airplanes several times in the past and that no air carrier banned him from boarding, or set special conditions due to his health.