By Lawani Mikairu
TURKISH Airlines said its passengers whose flights were delayed in Lagos due to the bad weather in Instanbul, Turkey, and had to be lodged in hotel as required by international civil aviation regulation were not ejected by the management of Golden Tulip Hotel in Apapa, Lagos where the passengers were lodged until the weather condition improved.
According to the airline, the clarification became necessary following allegation that its passengers were brutalized and ejected from the hotel.
Reacting to the reports, Mr. Paul Okojie, Rooms Division Manager of Golden Tulip, said “some Lagos-Instanbul bound Turkish Airlines’ passengers were lodged in the hotel on January 7, 2017, following the airline’s inability to carry its passengers due to bad weather in Instanbul, Turkey. The hotel did not eject the Airlines’ passengers and had no reason to do so because the airlines is one of its most valuable clients.
“We were bewildered to read the reports in some newspapers (not Vanguard). Let me state clearly that those reports were absolutely wrong and false, as we took care of the passengers lodging in our hotel providing them with befitting accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also lodged the crew and Turkish Airlines staff who came regularly to visit the lodging passengers. The flight disruption affected all Turkish Airlines passengers heading for Instanbul, where the airline was experiencing bad weather.”
He further explained: “Our hotel has a very solid and one of the most outstanding partnerships since inception with Turkish Airlines. So, we did not have any reason to eject our client’s passengers. The passengers were 232 and came in batches through Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8, 2017. This is contrary to rumour as reported by some newspapers that the passengers were totaling 410 passengers.
“As a matter of fact our sellable rooms in the hotel including those already being occupied by existing customers are 345. So, where do we get extra rooms to lodge 410 rooms?”
It will be recalled that Turkish Airlines could not pick passengers to their destinations via Istanbul on January 7, due to weather condition in Europe, especially in Istanbul and this affected its passengers leading to lodging them in hotels in Lagos.
“Turkey is facing the harshest snow in 10 years which affected all flights coming into Instanbul, as the ‘heavy snow’ of 1.2 metres above sea level, has resulted in loss of lives”.