Onyema: FG must end unfair competition, support Nigerian airlines on Int’l/local routes

Barr. Allen Onyema, speaking on Saturday in Dubai

…as Air Peace launches SA, India, China, UK operations soon

….airline sets to acquire more B777 aircraft

Posted by Sade Williams, in Dubai

Chairman of Air Peace, Barr. Allen Onyema, has called on the Federal government to support Nigerian airlines on both domestic and international routes with all in its power rather than initiate policies that will stifle them out of operations.

Onyema spoke in Dubai on Saturday during a brief ceremony to herald the inauguration of its flights into Dubai via Sharjah.

While appreciating government for exempting airlines from paying Value Added Tax (VAT) and paying custom duties on aircraft/spares importation, he said a situation where government designate foreign airlines on multiple routes and grant them more frequencies into Nigerian cities was only killing Nigerian airlines’ operations, adding that no other country does this in the world.

He said such was one of the reasons, apart from aero-politics, Nigerian operators could not sustain their operations on international routes, hence loss of jobs and depletion of assets.

Nigeria’s Ambassador to UAE, Mohammed Rimi at the ocassion

“If we must succeed on this Dubai route, Nigerian government must support us, we cannot do it alone, we can only do our best but the rest lies with government. Government must stop unfair competition in this sector. The USA government did it when the Gulf carriers swooped on them, so the policy of multiple designations, multiple frequency for foreign carriers is detrimental to our economy , Nigerian airlines will not grow under this policy, government must help us grow the sector and not stifle it but I know the President is a nationalist who is ready to support Nigerian carriers. Aviation is a very tough business, I plead with Nigerians and the government to support Air Peace. We promise to give Nigerians modern equipment and unparalleled services”, he said.

He confessed that ‘Air Peace will not be able combat aero-politics without the support of government’, lamenting that many Nigerians carriers had been unable to sustain their operations on the route.

“I have the plan to sustain the operations but if I am not supported by the government, there is little or nothing I can do. If for instance, government allows more frequency of other airlines from United Arabs Emirates (UAE) into Nigeria, how will Air Peace compete? Air Peace can only be successful with support from government”.

Onyema, who disclosed that the airline has signed an interline agreement with a company that will distribute its passengers with Air Arabia to onward destinations from Dubai, revealed plans to start Johannesburg, Guangzhou and London routes soon, adding that before the end of the year, it plans to increase its B777 fleet to six.

“We are not are not just doing Sharjah operations alone, we’ve signed agreement with a company whereby our passengers can be distributed through Air Arabia to their final destinations other than Dubai. The next route we are launching by August 30th is Johannesburg, South Africa has audited Air Peace, we have started setting up our structures there, we are already looking for a partner airline, we want to have alliance with other airlines to be able to succeed, we are close to signing the agreement. The next is India, we might start that route by September. The Federal government has written to the Indian government and they have told what to do, we must employ their citizen, with military experience, as chief security officer for the flight, we are planning to discuss with Air India for partnership.

“The next route would be Guangzhou, China will not allow an airline to operate without necessary equipment and aircraft, you must show tail registration of your aircraft, so we have presented our papers to their government. Before the end of the year, we would have six Boeing 777”, he added.

Earlier, Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UAE, urged the airline to offer good services to its customers, adding that on-time departure and arrival are key to sustaining the operations.

“ The only thing government can do is to provide diplomatic and political support, I call on Nigerians to also support this airline”, he said.

Also speaking, country manager, Air Peace in UAE, Reham Mustafa, expressed happiness that the plans to create jobs for people became a reality on Saturday, pledging the airline’s unwavering and quality services.

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