Mr. Chris Iwarah, the Corporate Communications Manager of Air Peace has cleared the air on the reason why the airline de-boarded a passenger who was identified as Mr. Christopher Aniagboso from its Lagos-Owerri flight. He said the decision was taken to guarantee the safety of its crew and customers. Iwarah, insisted that even though it is said that the customer is always right, he said conducts with the propensity of jeopardising the safety of its passengers and crew will not be entertained by the airline.
In a statement he issued to explain the incident, he said, “Mr. Christopher Aniagboso had missed his morning Lagos-Owerri flight on May 12, 2019. He later showed up for the afternoon flight in good time and was issued an over-wing exit seat on request. “After boarding, he was approached by a crew member for the normal safety briefing for passengers in the over-wing exit seats, but he suddenly claimed he could not understand English. Other passengers around him offered to translate to him, but he insisted that the crew must brief him in Igbo language.
“When all efforts to have Mr. Aniagboso cooperate with the crew failed, the crew advised him to change his seat as the flight was already running late. He declined the advice to change his seat. The captain of the flight, who was eventually briefed on the development, also did everything to secure Mr. Aniagboso’s cooperation to no avail. At this point, our crew members were left with no other alternative than to advise Mr. Aniagboso to disembark to enable the flight depart.
“It is important to state that only those who are able to clearly understand and express their willingness to perform their safety responsibility are allowed by aviation regulations to sit in the exit row. It is also clearly stated in the safety cards that only those who can speak English are allowed to sit in the exit row. Also, all through his interaction with our ground staff, Mr. Aniagboso communicated in fluent English. His claim of not being able to communicate in English at the point of the safety briefing was, therefore, only meant to disrupt and delay the flight.
“Air Peace takes pride in promoting the use of all local languages on board our flights without discrimination. We encourage our crew to speak the local language whenever it is possible to do so. But we do not allow passengers with ill motive to disrupt our flights and endanger the safety of our esteemed customers and crew. Conducts with the potential of jeopardising the safety of our esteemed customers and crew are not welcome on any of our flights,” the Corporate Communications Manager concluded.