BusinessHeadline

Air Peace battled local, foreign obstacles over Lagos-London flight

Allen Onyema, chief executive officer (CEO) of Air Peace, says the airline faced internal and external obstacles before it could commence Lagos-London flight operation.

Air Peace, Nigeria’s flag carrier, on March 30, commenced its Lagos-London flight services.

According to Onyema, during an interview with newsmen it took seven years to be able to commence operation.

“We got the designation about 6 and a half years ago to go into London. Since then, it has been a cat-and-mouse game,” Onyema said.

“We actually procured our three-triple seven because of this route, not for any other route because we wanted to give it the blow that it deserved at that time.

“However, we were not allowed to. Whether you like it or not, there is what we call international aeropolitics which is very dirty. We applied for the third-country operators (TCO). You must get that one before you start going into any European country, UK inclusive.”

Onyema said the TCO organisation from Europe wrote the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), asking if the agency knew Air Peace and its designation but the regulator “denied” the airline.

“My country denied us. So, they tweaked back. We went back to the NCAA, and they said we did not tell them. Who designated us? The federal ministry of aviation whose duty it was, and it still is to do that,” he said.

According to Onyema, the airline was ready “but they (NCAA) said until they allow us apply”.

“We got designation from the federal government and the NCAA, under the same federal government that was telling me that you should not make any application going into the UK,” he said.

This, he said, was despite obtaining licences to fly to China and India.

Onyema said NCAA does not find the airline worthy to fly to the UK, even though it is doing “over 160 hours of flying (unblemished) daily” in the country.

“No other airline in Central Western Africa does that much. So, the game is both from within and without. We were stopped. I’ll never stop saying it,” he said.

“So, we continued this cat and mouse game with the NCAA until Captain Musa Nuhu during his time said enough is now enough. Air Peace must be allowed to go in. What’s the issue? When the heat became so much, they told us to prove to them that we will be able to pass the TCO.

“If I don’t pass the TCO, it doesn’t mean anything, then I’ll leave. But allow me to go. They said we must prove to them that we will be able to pass the TCO. I said you come and audit us based on the TCO standard.

“They said we have to get consultancy firms from IATA to do that and IATA must conduct that and give their results. We paid a cost of over 200 million. We brought it to IATA and IATA conducted it.”

Onyema said Air Peace passed the test, subsequently writing to NCAA to approve the process to do an audit with the TCO Europe.

He said the TCO did not respond for over a year until the airline threatened to go to the press if their response was not gotten.

Meanwhile, he said the country is being fleeced by all the airlines “going to London from this place”.

Onyema said people were paying five times more than they should have been paying for flights.

Share this:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button