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HomeNewsAfrican Countries Frustrating Air Peace, Owner Onyema Cries Out

African Countries Frustrating Air Peace, Owner Onyema Cries Out

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Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has lamented that African countries were frustrating his airline with exorbitant airport charges to prevent it operating seamlessly in the region.

He laid the accusation at the 48th Annual General Meeting and exhibition of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) in Lagos.

The airline chief, however, exonerated Ghana from the negative aero politics.

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According to him, all other African countries where Air Peace operated had continued to employ means of exorbitant airport charges to frustrate the private Nigerian flag carrier from operating into their market.

Onyema said while these African airlines operate flights into Nigeria without limitations, reverse has been the case as their home countries write to Air Peace not to fly into their country.

He said that whenever Air Peace challenged these negativity in court, the countries would reluctantly allow Air Peace to operate but afterwards use exorbitant airport charges to frustrate the airline.

He narrated: “It took us four years to get approval to fly into a West African country but their airline has been coming into Nigeria for many years. When we eventually started flying, they wanted to chase us away with exorbitant airport charges. They told us to pay $12,000 per landing. We cannot implement SAATM in a lopsided way and expect it to work.

“Some countries we fly into send us bills running into millions of euros. When we ask them how we incurred the bill, they won’t respond. We made payment and after making payment, they told us the account we paid into no longer exists and we need to make a fresh payment. I have never seen a country as welcoming as Nigeria but we are being stigmatised in other countries.”

He also disclosed that another African country asked Air Peace to pay 4 million euros as charges incurred, but when asked how they arrived at the charges, they got judgement to enforce the levy in a French court.

The Air Peace Chairman said the advantage Air Peace had over other airlines is that Air Peace was its flying people from other states in Nigeria to London via the Lagos airport, thereby saving passengers over N200,000 they would have paid on local destinations after arriving at Lagos airport.

“We studied to find out why Nigerian airlines failed on the London route, we know the issues and we addressed them. It is not totally the fault of Nigerian airlines. If I didn›t go to the media to expose what Gatwick and other airlines were doing to us, we would not have lasted on the Lagos-London route for two weeks,” he said.

Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, through his representative, Hassan Tai Ejibunu, Director of Air Transport Management, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, said the theme of this year’s AGM and exhibition, “Unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential: Travel and Tourism as Catalyst for Intra-Africa Business, Investment and Trade,” was very apt.

Keyamo said the theme was in sync with the visionary thought of African leaders to integrate and facilitate trade and investment among the 55 countries of the African Union and eight Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in the continent, through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

He said the five-point agenda, which are in tandem with the renewed hope agenda of the President are to “Ensure strict compliance with safety regulations and continuous upward movement of Nigeria’s rating by ICAO, support for the growth and sustenance of local businesses whilst holding them to the highest international standard in the aviation industry, improve infrastructures in the aviation industry, develop human capacity within the industry and Optimise revenue generation for the federal government.”

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