The management of Air Peace has confirmed that three passengers were last Monday taken in for interrogation by security agents after they disrupted and delayed its 18:30 Lagos-Abuja flight for three hours.
A statement issued by the airline's Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, said security personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had to be called in after efforts to get the passengers to back down on their unruly conduct failed.
Although the names of the passengers were not made public, but THISDAY gathered from the terminal manager in charge of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Mr. Tunde Ogini, who confirmed the incident and said the passengers who were two males and one female, had been taken to the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) also known as Tango City, located at the international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos for further investigation.
Narrating the incident, spokesman of Air Peace, Chris Iwarah, in a statement said: "We wish to confirm and set the record straight on the unruly and disruptive conduct of three passengers (two men and a lady) on our 18:30 Lagos-Abuja service on Monday, September 11, 2017.
"During the pre-departure safety briefing by our crew, the three passengers began to query the seating arrangement of the aircraft. Efforts by our crew to let the passengers understand that the seating arrangement was as approved by both the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) were rebuffed. The pilot-in-command of the flight was later briefed by the crew to intervene. Again, the passengers refused to cooperate with the captain. They insisted on bringing our engineers on board to confirm the airworthiness of the aircraft," Iwarah said.
He also complained that the passengers insisted that the aircraft was unsafe and would suffer the fate of one other domestic airline which aircraft crashed some years ago. "The unruly passengers prevented our crew from continuing with the safety briefing. Understandably, other passengers on board the flight became apprehensive and insisted on the unruly passengers being taken off the flight.
"The pilot-in-command, therefore, had no choice than to request the unruly passengers to disembark. The passengers, however, refused to comply, leading to the captain of the flight calling for the intervention of FAAN security personnel. The passengers also refused to refrain from their disruptive conduct upon the intervention of FAAN security personnel."
The Air Peace spokesman also noted that after about three hours delay, two of the disruptive passengers eventually agreed to disembark, while the lady among them was adamant, but later agreed to disembark upon other passengers' intervention after delaying the flight for almost three hours in total, adding that the three passengers were eventually taken in for interrogation by FAAN security personnel, who later transferred them to the police for further investigation.
"We confirm that the aircraft's seating arrangement is as approved by both domestic and international aviation authorities, including NCAA and FAA, and in compliance with global best practices in the aviation industry. While we will continue to treat all our valued guests with the greatest respect and courtesy, we will never allow a tiny minority of customers jeopardise the safety and comfort of our customers and the overall safe operation of our flights. The unfortunate incident ofMonday is now being addressed by the nation's security agencies. We trust the security agencies to resolve the incident without bias," Iwarah said.