Air Peace clarifies arrest of unruly passengers
Air Peace airline has denied any role in the arrest of passengers who resorted to protests yesterday against flight delay. According to the airline’s management, ” We have noticed a certain video portraying Air Peace in a bad light on social media and it has become imperative that we clear the air and correct the impressions created”.
In response to a trending video on the arrest, the Management of the airline said some passengers turned unruly and tried to force their way into the airside and were arrested by the Aviation Security (AVSEC) of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
In a statement, made available by the spokesperson of the airline, Stanley Olisa, the carrier noted that the passengers in the video were supposed to be on a 19:20 Lagos-Abuja flight on September 28, but consequent upon unforeseen operational concerns, the flight was delayed.
“We put 46 of them on a flight that departed at 19:16, leaving behind 46 passengers. The delay was professionally communicated to the passengers and we apologised for the delay and inconvenience.
“However, a certain male passenger, Paul Samuel, who suddenly became irate, assaulted our Boarding Officer. This was clearly unnecessary and despicable. We were about distributing refreshments in consonance with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA) regulations, but Paul’s action disrupted the process and noise erupted from different quarters, while he incited other passengers against the airline.”
At this point, FAAN Security was notified as the passengers were allegedly trying to gain entrance to the airfield even when the aircraft was not yet on ground.
Olisa said “FAAN Security was compelled to lock the Boarding Gate to prevent the passengers from going to the airfield, a highly regulated part of the airport.”
“At 22:35, we called for boarding for the remaining 46 passengers. Due to his violent behaviour, Paul was arrested by FAAN Security. The action was taken in the best interest of the passengers and the airline. Also, the lady, Okoroafor Rita, who recorded the video being circulated, without the consent of those being recorded, was arrested by FAAN Security.
“FAAN Security repeatedly told her to stop recording but she did not. These arrests made some other passengers become unruly but with reinforcement from FAAN Security, the situation was managed, and the remaining passengers were able to board. The arrests of Paul and Rita were done by FAAN Security in line with their standard procedures,” the statement reads in part.”
Weather and other unforeseen operational issues are most times responsible for flight delays and cancellations in an industry that places a huge premium on safety and convenience.