By Omar Bah
A Gambian, residing in Salagi, has taken legal actions against Air Senegal claiming for the recovery of his luggage containing a tablet and other valuables. According to the writ summoned seen by The Standard, Kalma Keikura is claiming the recovery of the sum of D34, 000 being the cost of items entrusted to the defendant (Air Senegal) for transmission from the Gambia to Sierra Leone.
According to the particulars of offense, Mr Keikura contracted the airline to transport two luggage containing his personal belongings which include a tablet, electronics, snickers and some expensive clothes.
Speaking to The Standard shortly after filing the case, Kalma recalled that on the 3rd of June he left the Gambia for Sierra Leone for a seven-day meeting.
“I booked a round trip ticket with Air Senegal but according to my ticket, I was supposed to board a big flight to Freetown but they changed the flight and gave us a smaller one unknown to us. The flight was even delayed and when we went to board, they gave me a bag tag which was not my bag. I told them that was not my bag tag but they said I should just go ahead and board and they will take care of it. So, I went ahead and boarded the flight,” Keikura told The Standard.
He said the flight was supposed to take 130 minutes to reach Sierra Leone but it took several hours because of bad weather.
“We had an emergency landing in Guinea Conakry because of bad weather. We nearly lost our lives and everybody in that flight was so terrified. So, when the weather was normal, we proceeded to Freetown and landed there around 3:am, and when we asked for our luggage, they told us none of the luggage came because the flight we boarded was a small one and couldn’t carry all the luggage,” he explained.
He said the passengers later lodged a complaint at the Freetown airport. “This is because we were so furious – just imagine arriving at an event without your luggage and all that is needed to participate in that event,” he argued.
He said it was the following day that they were given their luggage but his small luggage which was containing his tablet was missing.
“I informed them about it and they promised to sort it out. However, throughout my seven-day stay in Freetown I didn’t hear from them until I returned to The Gambia. On the 10th of June, I went to the airport to report the matter but they tried all means searching for it they couldn’t see it. They advised me to go to Air Senegal’s office and lodge an official complaint,” he said.
Keikura said when he went there, the people he found there told him they have nothing to do with it and that he should go to one Malick Diop, Air Senegal’s country representative. “I called Malick and explained myself to him and he gave me two email addresses and asked me to share my complaints to those two emails which included his own but imagine since June, all I got from the airline is ‘we have received your email and we will look into it’” he lamented.
He said when he kept pushing to get redress, Malick told him to allow him time to travel to Dakar and sort things out.
“But after three weeks he returned without even calling to let me know. It was three days after his return that I went to the airport to check on him – and when I found him there, I asked why he failed to call me when he returned as promised but he was so arrogant to me. So to avoid confrontation with him, I decided to report the matter to the police.
“When he was invited by the police, he promised them that he would not want the matter to go to court and that they should give him time but for three weeks he didn’t call or return to the station. So, the police later called me and advised me to take the matter to the court because the guy is not ready to cooperate,” Keikura concluded.
Air Senegal explains
When contacted for reaction, Air Senegal country representative, Malick Diop said Mr Keikura’s complaint file has been forwarded to the main office in Dakar and they are looking at it.
“Whatever advice they give me, I will let him know but he should take his time and allow the airline to finish their investigation. We have had some complaints at the office since January which are still pending and many more. It is not like you will just come and tell us you lost your luggage and we believe it just like that because there are people who will lie about losing their luggage,” he added.