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Pobeda pursues smokers after diversion cost rulings

Russian budget carrier Pobeda has secured several favourable legal rulings after pursuing cost claims against passengers who forced flight diversions by smoking on board.

The airline has been awarded over Rb700,000 ($11,000) in claims in three particular instances.

Pobeda has embarked on a crackdown on unruly behaviour on board flights. It took action against smokers on three services – DP188, DP189 and DP855 – operating between Moscow and the cities of Gyumri and Makhachkala in August-September last year.

The airlines says the flights were diverted either to Mineralnye Vody or Volgograd, to "exclude the possibility of fire".

Three courts, it adds, subsequently granted Pobeda legal damage claims – the latest on 19 June – for the diversions against the offenders. The individual claims ranged from Rb218,000 to Rb258,000, and totalled over Rb700,000.

It admits that it lost a previous legal challenge, after it "did not take into account" various procedural details.

"But now we have learned to document everything correctly," it says, and warns that it will be working closely with financial recovery specialists to collect all the claims in full.

General director Andrei Kalmykov says that would-be smokers should "think a hundred times" before smoking on Pobeda's flights.

Pobeda adds that it is pursuing penalties against passengers involved in unruly behaviour, including fighting, on its services, stating that it has carried out 14 unplanned landings so far this year.

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