Nigeria Loses Billions Of Dollars Yearly Through Foreign Airlines - Air Peace Boss

Nigeria Loses Billions Of Dollars Yearly Through Foreign Airlines – Air Peace Boss

3 months ago
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Chairman and founder of largest carrier in Nigeria, Air Peace, Dr Allen Onyema, has said the country is losing billions of dollars yearly through foreign airlines that are given undue advantage to the detriment of domestic ones.

Onyema said that aviation authorities in many countries do not allow the kind of flight operations foreign airlines are allowed to run in Nigerian airspace.

He said Nigerian aviation authorities give foreign airlines a certain level of advantage but their countries of origin play international aero politics and refuse to reciprocate such gestures in line with the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA)

He said they deny Nigerian airlines slots and favorable flight frequencies in their airports.

“My country is massively bleeding through the foreign airlines and they tell you oh! our funds are trapped, your funds are trapped and you are still increasing your frequencies into the same country that your funds are trapped, who is fooling who?” Onyema stated in an interview on Arise TV Morning Show on Sunday.

He called on Nigerians to support domestic airlines pushing to operate on international routes to save the country from financial losses through the foreign airlines.

The Air Peace boss spoke in response to what his airline went through while trying to get approval to start flying to London.

He said initially the airline applied to fly to Heathrow Airport, but was denied by London aviation authorities, who offered Gatwick Airport. According to him the action was against the BASA agreement Nigeria signed with the United Kingdom which said that both countries’ airlines with requisite certification can have access to their primary airports.

He said that while British Airways, and other UK airlines had access to Nigeria’s primary airports like Lagos and Abuja, his airline was denied flying into Heathrow Airport which is a primary airport.

He further stated that following his discovery that it was an attempt to frustrate his effort, and seeing that many Nigerians were reeling under the weight of high costs of air tickets, decided to accept the offer and surprisingly the UK authorities said there was no available slots.

Mr Onyema thanked the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, SAN, for his intervention that led to London aviation authorities finally agreeing to give slot to his airline at Gatwick Airport.

He said though Gatwick was not their initial choice but along the line they discovered the advantages of flying into Gatwick for customers and embraced it. Some of them include access to easy transportation system connecting Gatwick to other parts of the UK.

“So, Gatwick has turned out to even be better at the end of the day for us. That is why we took that Gatwick,” he stated.

Air Peace recently announced that it will begin flight operations to London from Nigeria on 30 March 2024.

He said Air Peace will operate a daily flight to London, and that according to the current schedule approved by UK authorities, take off time is 12:30 am.

He assured that the airline was prepared to sustain the route and also make it affordable to the people.

He urged Nigerians to play their individual roles to save the country’s economy, especially the value of naira, adding that his entry into international routes is a way of saving the country of huge sums of money lost to international airlines every year.

“As a citizen, you must play your part, that’s why we are stepping out, this is not a lucrative business, we are doing it to save jobs here because a lot of billions of dollars are leaving my country through the hands of the foreign airlines. This is the time to save the naira,” Onyema stated.

On his plans to offer subsidised air fare to Nigerian students in UK, Onyema said it is part of his efforts to encourage the indigent ones to come home every holiday to avoid losing touch with homeland which contributes to brain drain as they most times after staying for longer period, decide to reside there thereby not coming home to help in developing the country.

He expressed concerns that the mass migration of Nigerian youths to abroad after training poses a threat to the country’s workforce and the economy in years to come.

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On cases of flight delays and cancellation, the Air Peace boss explained that about 95 percent was not caused by airlines.

He stated that airlines are committed to maintaining high Safety standards and when there is bad weather or other conditions that do not warrant flying, they are forced to delay or cancel flights.

He also said that some of the airports in the country do not operate in the night and when there is a delay, it is not possible to land in such airports leading to either diversion or return where it took off from and when such happens, many Nigerian passengers become very unruly.

He stressed the need for adequate passenger education on aviation processes. According to him, airlines would continue to experience delays and flight cancellations if things were not done properly in the system.

Onyema countered the accusations levelled against domestic airlines of lacking capacity, saying what they lack is government support and conditions that make it difficult for them to operate successfully.

He lamented that airlines are faced with multiple high charges and lack of good airport infrastructure to improve their services.

He said Nigeria government officials “sign BASAs that are killing their own country and blame Nigerian airlines for it,” who are losing money they are to make to foreign airlines, who do what he called city hopping as well.

 

 


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