An Arik Air flight was delayed in Asaba on Thursday after a row over the wearing of face masks ensued between a passenger and flight officials, the airline has said.
A video of the incident had emerged online showing someone apparently being bundled out of the airplane by security officials as other passengers looked stranded on the tarmac.
In its statement, Arik Air said the passenger who was removed had been “unruly”.
“On Thursday, December 16, 2021, an Arik Air flight from Asaba which was originally scheduled to depart for Lagos at 4:50pm was later rescheduled for 8:30pm. At the commencement of boarding, the first set of passengers to enter the plane was a man and a lady claiming to be the man’s wife. The man was without a face mask and the lead crew asked him to comply with the COVID-19 boarding protocol. The passenger not only refused to use his face mask, he also turned down the use of hand sanitizer and pushed the lead crew out of the way,” the Arik Air statement said.
“The passenger then began to shout at the top of his voice and Arik Air’s Asaba Station Manager went to appeal to him for calm. He refused and continued to make video recording of the scene with his phone. He refused to listen to the Captain as well. Meanwhile the rest of the passengers were on ground waiting to board the aircraft.
“After several appeals were made to him by the SAHCOL Station Manager, Asaba Airport Company Senior Manager on Quality and Safety and others, the passenger had to be forced out of the plane by a combined team of Airport Security and Police at 9:15pm.
“Arik Air strongly condemns such unruly behaviour by passengers on board any of its flights and advices that such actions could attract flight ban or sanctions prescribed by the regulatory Authority.
“Arik Air will continue to operate at the highest standards obtainable in the industry and advices customers to endeavour to comply with all safety instructions issued by the crew.”