Air Peace has accused Isa Bayero of threatening to incite Kano people against the airline following an unsuccessful request for its 6:15am flight to be delayed to accommodate the Emir of Kano and his entourage.
The airline in the response on Friday also denied disrespecting the Emir of Nigeria’s most populous state as claimed by Bayero.
Bayero had written the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, to sanction Air Peace for ‘disrespecting’ the Emir and the people of Kano.
The airline in its explanation of the incident which happened on Friday said the monarch had arrived at the Murtala Muhammed airport in the early hours of Friday from the Gambia and contacted its Chief Executive Officer, Allen Onyema demanding to board the airline’s first flight scheduled for 6:15am.
“He told the Chairman to delay the Airlines’s first flight of the day, the 6:15am Lagos-Kano flight for the Emir and his entourage,” said Air Peace Chief Operating Officer, Toyin Olajide.
Contrary to Bayero’s claim that Onyema outrightly declined the request, Air Peace said the CEO contacted her before politely explaining to him that the plane was already taxing.
She said that in line with its re-routing obligation under the Aviation Law and in deference to the exalted office of the Emir, Bayero was contacted and he was offered to put the Emir and his entourage on the 7.00am Lagos -Abuja flight.
The statement added, “On arriving Abuja, the Airline would then put the Emir and his entourage on our direct flight to Kano at no cost. Mr. Isa Bayero refused this offer; he insisted that the already taxiing aircraft should be stopped and delayed until the Emir and the other eight persons with him arrived from the International Airport.
“The decision was to fly them from Abuja to Kano still in the morning, considering the next flight from Lagos to Kano was for 7pm later in the evening.
How this became a disrespectful action by Air Peace baffles the Airline.
“After explaining this to Isa Bayero, he not only behaved in a disrespectful manner but also threatened he would incite the people of Kano against the Airline- if we did not stop the flight.”
The airline insisted that the decision to obey the request was in the Emir’s interest.
The statement said, “We took this decision so as to defend the image of our highly reverred Emir of Kano and not to insult him as insinuated by Isa Bayero.
“This is because if the passengers had been delayed for an additional hour after boarding and ready to fly, and then saw the Emir and his entourage walk in – considering the pulse of the general public lately due to complaints regarding delays – it would not have done justice to the image and character of the Emir.
“It is so unfortunate that Isa Bayero will go to this extent to portray the Chairman and Air Peace in this manner. The Chairman of Air Peace has the highest regard for the traditional institution as it could be recalled that the Emir of Kano had previously issued a certificate of commendation to the Chairman for his philanthropic work to the people of Kano and as such holds the office of the Emir and all traditional institutions in highest esteem.
“We are therefore appalled that this statement would be made to incite such negativity towards the Airline. We make bold to say that the Emir of Kano we know would have been offended to know that a flight already taxiing was halted and delayed for over 40 minutes for him.
“The Emir would never have supported this publication. He may not have even known our offers and our reasons given to Prince Isa Bayero. We reiterate our respects to our revered Emir of Kano.”