By Chinedu Eze

The management of Golden Tulip Hotel in Apapa, Lagos has said that it has established long-term partnership with Turkish Airlines to accommodate its passengers if flights are cancelled or delayed, noting that it has been doing this for the airline for some time now.

The hotel made this known in reaction to recent allegation that it threw out some passengers accommodated in the hotel, saying that it couldn’t have done that because such action would contravene the juicy contract it has with Turkish Airlines.

Some Lagos-Istanbul 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 Istanbul, Turkey.

The Rooms Division Manager of Golden Tulip, Mr. Paul Okojie, said the hotel did not eject its Turkish Airlines’ passengers and had no reason to do so for “one of its most valuable clients.”

According to Okojie, “We were bewildered to read the reports. 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 staffers who came regularly to visit the lodging passengers.

 “The intent of such reports remain unclear, as the hotel management was not contacted to confirm such reports. This is totally unfair and unprofessional, as the flight disruption affected all Turkish Airlines passengers heading for Istanbul, where the airline was experiencing bad weather,” Okojie said.

He also said: “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 7th and Sunday 8th January, 2017. This is contrary to rumour as reported by some newspapers that the passengers were totaling 410.

“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?” he queried.

He explained: “What Turkish Airlines has done by keeping its passengers in a hotel due to the bad weather in Europe until it could guarantee their safety to be flown was within international standards as prescribed in the aviation industry.”

Okojie reiterated the hotel commitment to an enduring working relationship with Turkish Airlines, which he described as one of the most patronised airlines in Nigeria as a result of its affordability and high focus on safety.

“So far, most of the passengers have been air-lifted and only about 30 of them are still with us in the hotel and they are expected to be flown out of Lagos by Saturday, January 14, 2017,” he said.

Turkish Airlines could not pick passengers to their destinations via Istanbul on January 7, citing 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 Istanbul, as the ‘heavy snow’ of 1.2 meter above sea level, has resulted in loss of lives.