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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Enugu, Owerri passengers disrupt Air Peace flights


 

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

Air Peace's Enugu and Owerri bound passengers on Tuesday disrupted the airline's operations in Lagos and Abuja due to delays to their flights.

Following the development, the airline called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other airport security operatives to restrain unruly passengers from attacking its staff members and inciting others to do same.

The Communications Manager, Air Peace, Mr. Chris Iwarah, told our correspondent that security operatives failed to stop some passengers from taking the law into their hands after the airline cancelled flights to Enugu and Owerri due to poor weather.

According to him, the passengers prevented others from going to their destinations when it was announced that their flights had been delayed.

Iwarah stated, "On Sunday, we had to delay some flights due to weather. Even today, we cancelled flights to Port Harcourt, Akure, Enugu, Owerri and Benin because of the same problem. Passengers to other destinations were calm when we announced the delays and cancellations, but those going to Owerri and Enugu became unruly, started attacking people and even incited others to join them.

"It has become a trend; the same thing happened this time last year when the weather was also bad. These passengers seem to forget that the airline is also losing money. Yes, the passengers have a right to complain but they do not have the right to stop others from going to their destinations."

Iwarah said visibility went as low as 400 metres in Enugu, Owerri and Akure, far below the 800 metres minimum accepted in most airports in the country.

He stated that the airline regretted the prevention of its guests from boarding their flights by the Owerri and Enugu passengers, adding that it was unfortunate that the security operatives failed to stop them.

The NCAA had earlier this month announced that there would be flight delays and cancellations due to the severe weather condition occasioned by the harmattan haze and urged passengers to bear with the airlines.

The regulator had also in May said passengers who attack airline officials would be made to face criminal charges, adding that they were not expected to take the law into their own hands when there were operational hiccups capable of truncating air services.

Iwarah said the attacks were becoming frequent and should be checked in the interest of airport users.