A first-time air traveller, Mr. Asuelimen Osenmhen, accidentally got booked into a wrong Air Peace flight by his relative and this led to the Port-Harcourt-Abuja flight been turned around while taxiing and the passenger deboarded and taken in for questioning.
The airline in a statement reassured air travellers that it will not spare any effort to ensure their safety and comfort while clarifying what actually transpired in the flight on Sunday.
Already rumors were rife of a safety situation which also involved passengers been forced to disembark and the anti-bomb squad called in to search the aircraft, however, it was learnt that it was the airline who called in the specialists after Mr. Osenmhen was deboarded as part of its safety culture.
A statement by Air Peace’s Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah read:
“On Sunday, November 13, 2016, a passenger on an Air Peace Port Harcourt-Abuja flight, Mr. Asuelimen Osenmhen, called the attention of the crew to the fact that he apparently boarded the wrong flight. The passenger, who booked his Port Harcourt-Abuja flight online and checked in almost late at about 9 a.m., informed the crew that he was billed for an appointment in Lagos on Monday, November 14, 2016.
“Upon being alerted to the development, the Captain in Command of the flight, who was already taxiing for take-off on the runway, returned to the tarmac and FAAN security personnel at the Port Harcourt International Airport were called in to assess the situation. The passenger was eventually taken in by FAAN security team for interrogation.
“During interrogation, the passenger said he intended travelling to Lagos for a job interview. He explained that his sister, who did the online booking for him, mistakenly booked an Abuja-Port Harcourt flight for him. He added that he neither saw the error nor paid attention to the boarding announcements until the crew made the final announcement before take-off. It was also discovered that the passenger was a first-time air traveller.
“Although it was easy to determine that the passenger made an innocent error, Air Peace insisted on a second security check because of the uncompromising premium we place on the safety of our passengers and operations. The Anti-Bomb Squad was called in and the aircraft was thoroughly scanned.
“Satisfied that there was no security threat whatsoever, our Port Harcourt-Abuja passengers boarded afresh. The aircraft eventually took off and landed safely at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 11.03 a.m. The passenger, Mr. Asuelimen Osenmhen was not bearing any nylon bags, nor were the passengers on board the aircraft ‘forced’ to disembark as it was erroneously reported. The second security check on the aircraft and the fresh screening of the Port Harcourt-Abuja passengers were simply undertaken in keeping with Air Peace’s pledge to always prioritize the safety of our passengers. It was an extra precautionary measure.
“The impression that there was a security scare was wrong and we reassure the flying public that Air Peace’s flight operations are not only safe, but also in keeping with global best practices.”