Air Peace, one of the leading airlines in the country has threatened to drag ASKY to court over refusal by its home country Togo to allow Air Peace and other Nigerian carriers operate into the country to reciprocate the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed between Nigeria and Togo.
The airline stated that by third week of May if aviation authorities in Togo fail to allow it to operate into the country, the airline would have no option but to take legal action against the Togolese government with a view to stopping ASKY from operating flights into Nigeria.
This is just as the airline described foreign airlines operating into Nigeria as ‘fair weather friends’ which only fly into the country to repatriate money from the country but don’t contribute to the development of aviation in their host country.
Briefing journalists at its corporate headquarters in Lagos, the Managing Director of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema said that some foreign airlines operating into the country such as Air France/KLM , Lufthansa, British Airways and others have multiple entries into Nigeria, but the home countries of these airlines would not allow Nigerian carriers to have multiple entries into their country.
To buttress his point, he cited the case of British Airways, which according to him has spent over 70 years in the country but that despite its lengthy stay in the country it has not employed one per cent of Nigerian staff Air Peace has employed within the over two years of existence.
Speaking further, he also cited the closure of the Abuja Airport runway by the Federal Government for six weeks, a development which made Kaduna alternative airport.
Onyema said that all the international airlines operating in the country that have been repatriating billions of capital to their home countries refused to fly into Kaduna Airport under the pretext that the airport was neither safe nor secure.
The Air Peace Chief Executive Officer added that apart from Ethiopian Airlines that stood by the country, other airlines boycotted Kaduna Airport.He said the Federal Government by now should know who Nigeria’s friends are when it comes to aviation and supporting aviation.
On when the airline will expand its operations, Onyema stated that Air Peace had been approved to fly to China, United States, United Kingdom, Dubai, South Africa, Ghana, Cameroun, Togo, Cote d’ivoire, Rwanda and Senegal.
The Air Peace boss stated that the airline had already started flight operations to Ghana, adding that it was finding it difficult to get approval from aviation authorities in Cameroun, Togo, Cote d’ivoire, Rwanda and Senegal. He stated that Air Peace had gone to Cameroun severally but that the Camerounian authorities were not ready to allow the carrier into the country, adding that it had also written to Togo aviation authorities who continuously frustrated the airline’s moves to alleged protect ASKY .
Speaking further, he said that Air Peace was allowed to operate into Cote de Ivoire but that it was asked to pay $4,000 for ground handling per flight.
According to him, “Nigeria gave us right to fly into African countries but we are only doing Ghana presently. Those other countries never wanted to answer our emails. We had to send people there. We went to them pleading. They see Air Peace as a threat. Senegal has not been here since two years to see our facilities to approve us to come to Senegal. We have written them but they have refused to come. We have provided everything they want us to provide. Cote d’Ivoire did it to us because they wanted to protect Air Cote d’ivoire. I wanted to take them to court when they sent for us but when we use only one ground handling service; they requested that we pay $4,000 per landing.”
He urged the Federal Government to review the BASA entered into some countries, as according to him they are not in the interest of Nigeria.
According to him, “The Federal Government gave us the approval to fly into these West African countries plus Cameroun but how many of these African countries have allowed us to come into their countries?”