HAVANA, Dec. 3 (DDC) At least two passengers reported Sunday that the Aerogaviota company “endangered” the safety of a flight by allowing large “mule” baggage in the main cabin of a small plane.
Aerogaviota, founded in 1994, belongs to the opaque network of companies of the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR).
The events occurred on November 29, during flight KG6081, which covered the Montego Bay-Holguin-Havana route.
“They treat passengers as animals, without respect, endangering human life (…) This is authorized by the representatives of the airline (…) Then there are the tragedies, and what you always have to avoid are the human losses”, wrote a surfer in the Facebook group Customs and Immigration of Cuba.
The complaint was later confirmed by Sailim Ponce de León, a Cuban woman who returned to Havana after working in Jamaica and took the photographs published in the forum.
“There were about 12 or 13 suitcases and large bundles stacked on top of the seats, they were ‘mules’ who paid $ 100 for a briefcase to the airline employees, the plane looked like a P4 bus from Havana,” Ponce de León said.
Aerogaviota uses ATR-42-500 devices, with turbohalic engines, with capacity between 42 and 40 people, according to the different configurations.
“It scared me a lot, because there was turbulence in the Holguín-Havana section, and the suitcases piled up in the back of the cabin did not have any security,” added Ponce de León.
In theory, Aerogaviota only allows one hand luggage, no larger than 55x35x25 centimeters. Cubana de Aviación, the other state airline, restricts cabin packages “to what can physically be placed under the passenger seat or in the overhead compartments.”
International standards regulate the size and location of hand luggage inside the passenger cabin, especially during takeoffs and landings, the most critical phases of the flight.
Muleros, corruption and aviation security
The complainants attribute the problem to alleged “business” of Aerogaviota employees with “mules,” to the detriment of workers who have completed their “collaboration” in Jamaica. According to these versions, many have had to leave their belongings in Montego Bay.
The “mules”, in general, have European passports or multiple entry visas for the United States, Canada or Europe. They travel to countries near Cuba to buy large quantities of clothing and equipment, and then sell them on the island. The government has declared war on them, limiting the amounts that can enter the country annually.
Those affected say that the situation occurs “on all flights” of Aerogaviota from Jamaica. That approach, however, has caused criticism in social networks for blaming the problem on the “mules”.
“The Cuban has become accustomed to chivalry, even in social networks chivatean.If there was no need, there would be people carrying things for Cuba,” wrote a user on Facebook. Meanwhile, another said: “There is no worse wedge than the same suit, let each one defend himself as he pleases, because enough misery and needs are in this country.”