PEBEC executive secretary challenges Airpeace over failure to comply with flight schedules

The executive secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Jumoke Oduwole has called out Airpeace, an indigenous flight operator over its repeated failure to comply with announced flights schedules as well as its unreliable change of schedules.

Oduwole who is also the Special Adviser to the President on Ease of Doing Business, challenged the company in a petition titled “Ease of Doing Business Intervention: Request for Urgent Intervention Regarding Service of Air Peace” which she addressed to Musa Nuhu, Director General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), regulators of activities of airlines in Nigeria.

Other key government stakeholders such as Hadi Sirika, Aviation Minister; Emmanuel Meribole, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation; Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Rabiu Yadudu, Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Babatunde Irukera, Chief Executive Officer, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) were also copied in the petition.

Giving an account of what she described as a misleading flight rescheduling by the company, she said;

“My personal experience today bears repeating as an example of what many air travelers in Nigeria, including other members of my team and I have experienced firsthand and on various occasions in the past months. On Saturday, April 22, 2023, two Air Peace tickets were purchased to return to Lagos from Akure with a departure time of 3:30PM to return from attending a programme in Omuo–Ekiti, Ekiti State, (near border with Kogi State). On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, a schedule change notification was sent informing of an earlier departure time from 3:30PM to 12:40PM. A subsequent notification was sent at 2:37AM today, April 28, 2023 informing of a further time change from 12:40PM to 8:30AM.

At 7:30AM, as soon as I became aware of the notification (one hour before the new departure time), I abandoned the event I had come to attend, and proceeded to immediately start making my way down to the Akure Airport, a two-and-a-half-hour journey on the shortest route from Omuo-Ekiti. The PEBEC Secretariat team also called the Air Peace Duty Manager in Akure, Mr Charles, and asked him to please reschedule the flight to a later time to allow more passengers time to see the notification and make the new flight time. He stated that there was nothing he could do.”

“I arrived at the Akure airport at 9:13AM (for what was to be a 12:40pm flight). The Air Peace Lagos-bound flight had departed. Being the only flight of the day from Akure to Lagos, and with another important official engagement to attend at 5PM in Lagos this evening, I was forced to proceed on an unplanned 5-hour road trip to Lagos. This is only one of many such instances of unacceptable inefficiency of this airline operator in recent times, to which most frequent air travelers in Nigeria can testify,” she said.

Oduwole said the implications of these unchecked actions by airline operators on the Nigerian economy, businesses and persons include wasted man hours, high cost and time of doing business in Nigeria, lack of operational transparency of airline operators, difficult ticket refund processes while selling tickets and tying down funds with real and opportunity costs to air travelers.
She called for an investigation of the recurrent situation and necessary actions to ensure that such issues are addressed with airline operators on pain of sanction in order to ensure that the growing monopolistic tendencies of poor service offerings by some of our air transport operators in Nigeria are curbed as a matter of great urgency.

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