Onyema: Air Peace Not Interested In National Carrier Status, Rather Nigerian Airlines Need Government Support

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Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Allen Onyema, while soliciting government’s support for the ease of doing business for all indigenous airlines, has revealed that Air Peace is not interested in becoming the national carrier of Nigeria.

Drawing parallels with international counterparts, the CEO, in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Monday, highlighted the support provided by their governments to airlines like Delta and Virgin Atlantic in the United States and British Airways in the United Kingdom.

He emphasised that while these airlines are not national carriers, their respective governments offer substantial support, ensuring their viability and competitiveness in the global market.

“The truth is that we need government support. All the Nigerian airlines need government support. However, on the issue of singling out Air Peace to become the National carrier, we are not interested. Let Nigerians support the indigenous airlines. We are all flag carriers.

“When you fly out of your country, you become flag carriers. Why I said so is that, in America, they have Delta and others, they support them, even British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, they are not national carriers but the British government supports them. If you touch Delta, America will release mayhem on you, if you touch Virgin Atlantic, Britain will do the same thing to you. 

“In our own country, what we are pleading is for the ease of doing business. Let them do that for the indigenous airlines and see us blossom, instead of bad mouthing us because these airlines pass through all manners of problems.”

Onyema also shed light on the challenges faced by Nigerian airlines, citing instances of unfair treatment and operational hurdles encountered by local airlines.  

“Let me tell you what happened yesterday at the international airport. When our own aircraft landed, thank God I was there. It had happened before. The wickedness in the system is stinking. Your only carrier doing international operations in Nigeria, will land and you will keep us somewhere in the bush, the disused side of the airport and you expect us to be using rickety buses to take international passengers to the new terminals these international airlines rejected when it opened.

“When they did the runway, they wanted to do runway analysis after they fixed the light, it was Air Peace Nigeria begged. They didn’t have money to fuel a triple seven. A triple seven consumes about 8,800 liters of fuel per hour. So, it was Air Peace they brought to come and test it. We did it free of charge.

“That plane that landed yesterday would have taken about 6 hours for people to exit that airport because first of all, they put us near NAHCO shed, very far. No aircraft, foreign or local; that was where they told my pilot to park, meanwhile C-23 at the new terminal was opened, where you can just park the aircraft and the bridge will key in. When my captain called, they said they reserved It for a foreign airline, at the expense of a Nigerian airline. Imagine the time it would take to take people from that place to the terminal building and the time it would take to offload and it would have taken about 9 hours. 

“Nigerians would have hated Air Peace because they wouldn’t know… So, you’re contending, not with external conspiracies but with internal conspiracies within Nigeria.

“So, what I did was to call my operation control center who called the pilot because I couldn’t reach the pilot and told them to inform the pilot not to move that aircraft. I told him to block the taxiway and so no airline in the world would have to land and that was when they started making moves to take us to where we rightly belonged. 

“The DG of the Nigerian Civil Authorities was on board in the aircraft. About four senior staff of the NCAA were onboard. They delayed this flight for about 30 minutes.”

Reacting to the fly Nigeria act proposal by the aviation round table, which aims to promote domestic air travel by requiring government entities to prioritize Nigerian airlines for official trips, Onyema said it was a step in the right direction as that will help to conserve the country’s reserves.

Chioma Kalu 

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Source link: Arise News/

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