Air Peace, one of the nation’s commercial airlines, at the weekend explained that it was yet to embark on its international long-haul operations because it has not secured approvals for flight service from the countries of its planned destinations.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently designated Air Peace to fly to London, Guangzhou-China, Houston, US, Mumbai, India, Johannesburg, South Africa, Dubai and Sharjahin, the United Arab Emirates.
The airline’s management attributed the delay in the approvals to aero politics in which countries try to protect their own airlines against competition from outsiders.
Air Peace Chief Operating Officer, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, who disclosed this alleged that the authorities of most of the international destinations the carrier had been designated to operate were either deliberately delaying the processing of its application or imposing frustrating conditions to discourage the airline from flying into their domains.
According to her, it took up to two years for some of the destination countries’ authorities to respond to the airline’s applications.
In what seems to be a reaction to the remarks made by the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika the Nigerian carrier had not started operating the designated routes after securing approval from government, Olajide explained that even the countries that had granted approval to the airline to operate to their domains imposed high charges in order to discourage the airline.
While decrying the high charges imposed on Nigerian carriers by other countries, the industry expert urged the Federal Government to reciprocate such unhealthy policy regime by also charging the airlines from the affected countries exorbitant charges.
The Air Peace boss dismissed insinuations that domestic airlines lacked the capacity to take advantage of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) Nigeria signed with different countries.
According to her, Air Peace has demonstrated its capacity to operate to the designated destinations, remarking that the carrier at the moment has been consistent in its operation into 14 domestic and five regional destinations, including Accra, Banjul, Dakar, Freetown and Monrovia.
Olajide maintained that Air Peace had the capacity to operate into all destinations approved for it, hinting that the management is concluding arrangements to launch the airline’s Dubai and Sharjah services before the end of the year.