Dozens of Air Peace passengers, Thursday night, slept inside the Arrival Hall at the MM1 wing of the Lagos airport, Nigeria’s busiest.
The P4 7125 flight from Abuja initially scheduled for 9:00p.m., eventually took off at 11:00pm and landed minutes after 12 midnight despite the nationwide curfew.
On May 10, the federal government announced another phase of restriction to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed, said a ban had been placed on human and vehicular movement from 12:00a.m. to 4:00a.m, except those on essential services.
Air Peace customers condemned treatment by the company and wondered whether the airline forgot a curfew was in place.
One of them said he was disappointed about the service and the fact that travellers had to pass the night on the floor.
“I am appalled, enraged! How do you fly people one hour to the start of restriction time. It would have been okay if we took off at 10:00p.m.
“We’re not among the categories exempted from the curfew – health workers, security operatives, journalists. I’m sure regardless of the time, Air Peace staff would make it home or to hotels.
“Sadly, there was no empathy for us who keep them in business, considering that we arrived when most people would not be able to get to their destinations in good time.
“They didn’t even give us snacks and by the time we arrived, the eateries had closed. It is very annoying,” the businessman bemoaned.
On March 22, the federal government directed airlines to resume catering services on domestic flights immediately.
Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, gave the order at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja. The pronouncement is being flouted amid what critics describe as ‘casual monitoring’ by regulators.
It was gathered that aside Air Peace, Aero Contractors, Arik Air and Max Air are yet to serve passengers refreshments. However, Ibom Air and United Nigeria offers snacks.
The incessant rescheduling of flights by air transport providers has become a norm in Nigeria with several harrowing experiences, including travellers waiting for hours and missing appointments, among others.
Attempts to engage Air Peace management over the midnight experience failed as none was available for comment.