Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema flanked by the Chief of Administration and Finance, Mrs. Ejiro Eghagha (right) and the Technical Director, Engineering, Mr. Brian Rigby during a chat with editors on the state of the carrier and its plan for the future in Lagos on Friday
… asks govt. to urgently concession airports
Posted by Sade Williams
Barr. Allen Onyema, Chairman of Air Peace Ltd, on Friday, called on the Federal government to immediately intervene in what he termed as ‘aero-politics’ currently going on international and continental routes, saying it was seriously affecting airlines designated on some of the routes.
Speaking at a press conference in Ikeja, Lagos, he said the high level politics is to the effect that a country would by all means, try to frustrate any airline wants to operate to its airspace despite being designated on that route by Nigerian government.
Onyema, who recalled the several ordeals of Arik Air and Medview Air on London route, said his airline was almost frustrated to quitting some routes on the West Coast because of high power politics.
He said for instance, it took Senegalese government almost two years to grant a request to operate to its airspace and that when it was granted, the country’s airport authority never provided an office for the airline.
“We also want government to intervene in international aero-politics, we discovered that whatever we make on local routes are being expended on West Coast, we lost over N1 billion on that route because of high chargers.
“When we operated to Cote ‘divore, we were asked to pay $10,000 as we landed and there was no office allocated for us, that was after delays in grating the request to operate to their country. When government gives us rights to fly abroad, it should also help fight the politics that follow it because Nigerian airlines are on the losing side. Our international operation begins by the end of November, there is need for government to on behalf of the airlines, rise to any resistance that could cause frustration. Sometimes, they will even tell there is no slot but Nigeria gives them slot anytime they apply for it”, he said.
Onyema, who disclosed that Air Peace would start Dubai and Sharjah operations by the end of November, also asked government to help Nigerian airlines by renewing infrastructure at airports, reducing routes designated to foreign airlines, among others.
“Government can help domestic airlines increase revenue by putting a stop to multiple designations, installing necessary facilities for night operations at airports because most aircraft are always on ground with the operators losing billions over inability to fly round the clock.
“I can tell you that for over two years now, I have applied for land for lounges for our First and Business class passengers to no avail, but our government prefer to grant space to foreign airlines over their domestic counterparts, there should be more support for indigenous airlines.
“The airports should even be concessioned urgently so that we can see physical infrastructure, government has no business doing business. But it should not be concessioned to foreigners but viable local investors to avoid capital flight”, he added.
He however commended the Federal government for suspending the proposed national carrier, saying it is a call for the flag carriers to get their acts together.