The Management of AirPeace airline has tendered an unreserved apologizes to its esteemed passengers whose flights where disrupted last week over some challenges experienced by the airline regarding its aircraft.
Chairman of the airline, Barrister Allen Onyema while giving explanations to the flight disruption at a news conference in Lagos said flights had to be delayed and rescheduled due to an incident involving two of its aircraft at the Lagos airport while another aircraft was damaged at the Benin airport when a truck belonging to the Skyway Aviation Handling Comoany, SAHCOL rammed into it, thus the affected aircraft had to be declared unserviceable.
“We lost three aircraft in one day; two of them in Lagos when there was a collision that destroyed the winglet of these aircraft, and the other incident happened in Benin airport when equipment belonging to Skypower Aviation Handling Co. Ltd damaged one of our aircraft at Benin Airport.
He said the situation caused a lot of problems for the airline as they had to quick make an emergency plans to ensure all scheduled flights are operated leading to rescheduling of flights and many passengers stranded at their various routes.
“The challenge has caused us and our passengers unpleasant stories, on the day of the incident, we would have done 14 flights with the two aircraft but the adjustment led to delays and a lot passengers didn’t know about this, the situation led to massive disruptions here and there. Whereby apologize to our passengers for this, we are very sorry for the inconvenience it has caused them we are assuring them that our on-time departure policy remains sound”.
Barrister Onyema however noted that, the attitude of passengers during the incident was uncalled for, as beating up their staff to stupor and stripping them naked was taking the laws into their hands which does not speak well of them as a result of the delays.
He emphasized that passengers should learn to exercise restraints instead of resorting to violence which could lead to more problems both for them and the airlines, calling on government to carry out an enlightenment campaign to educate passengers how to behave whenever such a situation arise.
“They abused our staff verbally; they beat up one of our elderly staff and stripped him naked and destroyed our facilities. They enter into the airside of an airport and stop a flight from taking off in protest. This is what we now face from unruly and violent passengers who want to fly at all cost whenever flights are cancelled or delayed. It is not done anywhere in the world”.
According to him, government should allow airlines who have the capacity to handle their ground services to avoid incidents on the ramp involving handling companies who do not even have enough staff to do the job.
“We are calling on government that it should allow airline to henceforth, acquire its own ground services equipment to minimize the unpleasant situation, the monopoly of ground handlers should be broken, it is one of the issues militating against airlines’ business, there was a time the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) equipment hit our aircraft and it became unserviceable for sometimes. But passengers will not know that the fault is not from the airline”.
The AirPeace chairman disclosed that due to these incidents, over N3 billion was lost, “We had to ground these aircraft and look for how to fix them. In fact, we have lost over N3 billion in the process. We had 24 flights affected and we had to plan in 24 hours how to solve this problem.
According to him, fixing the winglet of the affected aircraft would cost the airline $650,000