Famed Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli is suing an air charter company for allegedly violating a contract by providing him with an older, noisier airplane during a portion of his U.S. tour last year.
Bocelli, 64, filed the lawsuit against Private Jet Services of Seabrook in New Hampshire federal court last month. Bocelli also alleges that the company violated its contract terms when a crew member announced that there would be a bumpy ride from California to Cleveland.
Bocelli, who experiences discomfort and fear during flights due to his impaired vision, had reportedly asked that no on-board weather announcements were made “to avoid causing undue anxiety,” according the suit.
The “Con te partirò” singer is asking for treble damages of the refund of $569,800 that he paid for 15 flights. The sum reportedly covers lawyers fees and damages, in addition to alternative flight arrangements.
According to the lawsuit, Bocelli’s representative contracted with the company to arrange flights for the singer’s November and December tour dates in the United States. The arrangement specified that the jets “ideally should not be ‘older’ than 4 years.”
Bocelli, who is blind, is sensitive to loud noises during the airplane flights. During the California to Cleveland flight, the company provided a Falcon 2000 that was manufactured in 1996, in addition to making a crew announcement about turbulence.
Riding in the older plane and hearing the announcement “caused him to be anxious and to fear for his safety during the last 20 minutes of the flight,” according to the lawsuit.
“He is also not a very keen flyer, as he has fear of flying and can feel anxiety related to safety issues during air travel,” said the suit filed by Portsmouth Attorney Michele Kenney. “In particular, he is sensitive to the elevated noise that an older airplane tends to make in flight, with such elevated noise causing him more anxiety.”
Private Jet Services allegedly apologized their mistakes but were unable to find an acceptable aircraft for the final five tour dates.
According to the suit, Private Jet Services of Seabrook canceled the flights for the final tour dates but did not refund the money, forcing Bocelli to contract a new company that cost him more than $300,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.