The Chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema has called for more support of the local airlines by the government stressing that foreign airlines and their corresponding countries are sabotaging the operations of Nigerian airlines.
Onyema, in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, said Nigerian airlines are being tactically prevented from flying routes outside the country, while foreign airlines are given a free hand to operate in the country.
According to him, Air Peace is set to commence operating several routes outside the country, but noted that the airline is finding it difficult to get cleared in some of the other countries it’s intending to operate.
He stated that though the airline commenced operations to some African countries this year, it has not been able to commence flight to the South African route as it is yet to get clearance from the South African Civil Aviation Authority.
“We have applied to the South African Civil Aviation Authority since last year and up to this moment we have not heard anything from them and yet they are coming to Nigeria.
“These are the things that we complain about when we say we need support. Cote d’Ivorie is coming into this country with Air Cote d’Ivorie about four times a day. Did their government give me permission to go to Cote d’Ivorie? They didn’t want us to get there, the foreign airlines do not want Nigerian airlines to survive. Our government should also stand by us,” he said.
Speaking further, Onyema, said, “I know the foreign airlines are not comfortable with the emergence of Air Peace because they know we are actually going to do things differently for Nigeria.
“The foreign airlines have been killing us, charging arms and legs for Nigerians to travel. What the South Africans pay from Johannesburg to London which is a nine hours flight is cheaper than what Nigerians pay from Lagos to London which is about six hours flight.
“We want to change all these and we know it is not easy. We want the government to assist us because it is one thing to give you destination for a country,” he stated.
According to him, for another the country to accept the local airlines the government most support their initiatives.
“The government must begin to support Nigerian airlines. Over 150 airlines have passed through this country and only about six are remaining. The owners of these 150 airlines were not stupid people for them to have failed and that means something is fundamentally wrong,” Onyema said.
Meanwhile, he said Air Peace will in July commence flying to Dubai in July and will follow with China in August. “We want to do London around the first week of the last quarter of the year 2018. Of course, we want to do United States next year January and we need government’s support.