Air Peace Limited says it was forced to defer the launch of its flight operations from Lagos to Freetown, Sierra Leone; Banjul, Gambia and Dakar, Senegal following an industrial unrest by air traffic control (ATC) in Dakar, a critical chain in the operations route map.
A statement by Air Peace spokesman, Mr. Chris Iwarah, said the airline regretted the postment of the operations which had been scheduled for December 15, 2017 as part of the second phase of the expansion of its regional route network.
Said Iwarah, “We were all set for the launch of the second phase of our expansion on the West Coast of Africa, connecting Freetown in Sierra Leone, Banjul in The Gambia and Dakar in Senegal. Members of our advance crew were already on ground in Dakar when we received the disruptive news around midnight of December 14, 2017 the eve of the launch, that Dakar’s Air Traffic Control (ATC) would shut down on December 15 we had planned to operate our inaugural flight into the destination.
“This development completely upset our plan, as Dakar is critical to the new routes launch. We had no choice than to take the painful decision to call off the launch to avoid our esteemed guests getting stuck in the area despite the huge financial and material resources we had committed to the process. Our decision to call off the launch turned out to be quite right as members of our advance crew were eventually caught in the industrial unrest and got stuck in Dakar.
“The incident, rather than discourage us from servicing the routes, has more than ever before fuelled our resolve to tackle the difficulties experienced by air travellers on the routes. We have immediately begun fresh arrangements to expand to the routes and when we are really certain that the industrial unrest in Dakar has been fully settled, we will announce a new launch date and deliver on our promise to end the nightmare of air travellers on the routes.”
In a related development, the airline has assured air travellers of smooth flight operations during and after the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
The airline said it will operate all its daily flights into and out of the Enugu Airport between the hours of 7am and 2pm during the partial closure of the facility runway to traffic by the Federal Government.