Air Peace has attributed the cancellation of the launch of its Freetown-Banjul-Dakar air services originally scheduled for December 15, 2017 to the industrial unrest by air traffic controllers in Dakar which it describes as a “critical chain” in its route map.
The airline’s spokesman, Mr. Chris Iwarah said in a statement that the carrier was already set for the launch before the workers went on strike.
“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, the eve of the launch, that Dakar’s air traffic control 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.”
On the domestic front, Iwarah assured air travellers that its daily 7am-2pm operations to Enugu Airport would not be affected by the ongoing repair work on its runway.
Iwarah however said other Enugu-bound flights from around 3pm when the runway of the facility was expected to be shut daily would be diverted to either the Owerri or Port Harcourt airport.
He said passengers affected by the partial closure of the airport could reschedule to any of the alternate airports for free.
Meanwhile, Iwarah said more of the airline’s 24-aircraft had returned from maintenance.
“We recently deepened our capacity with the expansion of our fleet size to 24 aircraft.
While some of our newly-acquired aircraft have started coming in, others that went on maintenance are returning to service. This obviously is a pleasing development, coming very close to the yuletide when there is usually a great rise in the demand for air travel,” he said.
He assured that the airline would safe flights as well as on-time and consistent services during the Christmas season.
“As a safety-centric airline, Air Peace sincerely values the lives of its guests and crew and will never operate a flight except it is truly safe to do so,” he added.