Leading Nigerian airline company, Air Peace, on Sunday disclosed that the reason why it has not commenced international flight operations is due to the fact that it has yet to receive the necessary approvals from the authorities of the foreign countries it plans to operate in.
Reacting to comments made last Thursday by the Minister of State for Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, Air Peace said it had, indeed, received an operating license from the Federal Government to fly six foreign routes.
But the countries have refused to grant the needed approval that will enable the Nigerian airline to fly into their airspace.
The routes include Sharjah and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; Johannesburg, South Africa; Houston, USA; London, United Kingdom; Mumbai, India; and Guangzhou, China.
Why is this the case?
According to the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, the Governments of the above-mentioned countries either deliberately foot-dragged or imposed impossible conditions just to discourage Air Peace from flying those routes.
According to her, this is a typical case of aero politics whereby countries do everything possible to prevent foreign airlines from operating into their territories whilst protecting their own local airlines from competition.
It is yet to be seen if the Nigerian Government will do everything possible to ensure that Air Peace eventually fly these routes, if not for anything for the sake of diplomatic reciprocity.
Mrs Olajide argued further, Nigeria ought to reciprocate, especially in light of the huge charges often imposed on Nigerian airlines. According to her, imposing similar charges on foreign airlines operating in the country would send a clear message that there is no justification for foreign Governments to treat Nigerian airlines unfairly.
She also refuted the claims that Nigerian airlines lacked the technical capability required to partake in the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) which Nigeria is a signatory to. This is because Air Peace has demonstrated its capability by successfully operating both domestic and regional flight zones.
Founded in 2013, Air Peace carrier provides both passenger and charter services.