I chartered an aircraft and the pilot announced that during the flight smoking is not permitted. As soon as we landed, I lit my cigarette and started smoking. I assumed that we were not in flight since we had already landed and were taxing to the arrival gate. The pilot was very specific that during the flight and not in the aircraft is when I could not smoke. Did I commit an offence?
Your reasoning is very good in that you never smoked during the flight but only when you were taxing. However, your thinking is not in line with our laws.
The Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations, 2018 (Regulations) clearly states that an aircraft is deemed to be ‘in flight’ at any time from the moment when all its external doors are closed following embarkation until the moment when any such door is opened for disembarkation; and in the case of forced landing, the flight shall be deemed to continue until the competent authorities take over the responsibility for the aircraft and for persons and property on board. Hence since the doors were not opened for you to disembark, you were still in flight and were required to adhere to the pilots instructions. In short, in flight doesn’t only mean when you are in the air.
Moreover regulation 74 of the Regulations tightens this even further and states that a person who, on board an aircraft (a) smokes in a lavatory, or elsewhere in an aircraft; (b) tampers with a smoke detector or any other safety- related device on board the aircraft; or (c) operates a portable electronic device when such act is prohibited, commits an offence.
A person who commits an offence is liable, on conviction, to a fine not less than the equivalent in Tanzanian Shillings of USD 200 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 1 year, or both.