A CHINESE national was arrested and fined K1,000 for smoking on an Air Niugini flight from Port Moresby to Madang yesterday.
According to reports, the passenger, believed to be an employee of the Ramu nickel and cobalt mine, smoked a cigarette in the toilet of the aircraft during the flight.
He did not put out the burning cigarette, which was then found by passengers and air crew.
According to the Air Niugini management, any passenger found smoking during flights is in breach of the Civil Aviation Act and is liable for a fine of K1,000.
Air Niugini chief executive officer Wasantha Kumarasiri reiterated this after the incident on PX110 from Port Moresby to Madang.
He confirmed that the passenger had smoked in the aircraft during the flight and the captain reported the matter to Air Niugini ground staff and aviation security personnel who in turn reported it to police.
The passenger was arrested on arrival at Madang airport and fined K1,000.
“Smoking during flights is in breach of the Civil Aviation Act 2000, section 318 which clearly spells out that passengers shall not smoke whilst in flight as the action not only endangers the life of the smoker but also other passengers, the crew on board and the aircraft,” Mr Kumarasiri said.
He said a person caught smoking during the flight was liable to a fine of K1,000 and could also be imprisoned.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for MCC, the operator of Ramu nickel, said the incident was an isolated one and had nothing to do with the company.
“Although he may be an employee of the company, it was a personal problem and it was up to the government authorities to deal with such cases,” the source said.
Civil Aviation Authorities were not aware of the incident when contacted by The National yesterday.
However, a source said that smoking in flights was banned not for security reasons but as a health hazard in the early 1990s.