Vietnam Airlines to sue passenger for opening emergency door

Business Materials 8 August 2008 11:24 (UTC +04:00)

Vietnam Airlines has decided to sue a passenger who opened an airplane's emergency door at an airport in Taiwan this month, a company official said Friday.

The passenger, Le Van Hanh, 26, of Vietnam, would face charges of serious violation of aviation safety regulations, airline spokesman Trinh Ngoc Thanh said.

Hanh was sitting August 2 in the 15th row on the right side of an Airbus A321 plane being towed to the runway at Taipei's international airport when he pulled the handle of the emergency door, which caused an emergency slide to deploy, dpa reported.

"His act delayed the flight for two hours and cost significant damage to Vietnam Airlines," Thanh said.

The spokesman said Vietnam Airlines decided to sue Hanh to defray the costs of the delay and to encourage other passengers to follow safety regulations.

"Luckily, the emergency door and slide can only be opened when the plane is on the ground, not when it is flying high in the sky," Thanh said. "We are calculating the cost of the damage and finalizing the procedures for the case."

In separate cases in 2007, courts in Vietnam sentenced two Vietnam Airlines passengers to 10 months and 12 months of probation and fined them 14,200 and 18,500 dollars for claiming to have placed bombs on airplanes.