As aero politicking has become the 85% factor for the survival of Nigerian airlines on the international route, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) has joined the call for Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Transport (Aviation), to give Air Peace strong backing to sustain its international operations.
The airline professional pressure group also congratulated government for its role in ensuring Air Peace to start international flights into Dubai via Sharjah on Friday July 5, 2019 stating that the airline’s survival was key because it has become one of the pillars to the building of our nation’s economy.
According to the AON, in a statement released today many of the airlines that went before Air Peace collapsed due mainly to aeropolitics which is 85% the role of government to play while stating that presently foreign carriers dominate 100% of the Nigerian sky with capital flight of about $3bn.
He further emphasize that Air Peace is the fourth Nigerian private airlines to venture into the international air transport market.
According to the AON Chairman, Captain Nogie Meggison, the issue of Aero Politics has been the bane of operators like Bellview that was frustrated out of the India market; Arik Air that was given a distant parking bay in Dubai at the far end of the terminal; Medview who were frustrated out of the London route by sheer regulatory technicalities and so called safety deficiencies, unfair slot allocation, exorbitant airport charges, levies and fees, and all forms of excuses to name a few which are mainly to discredit the airline as a means of edging them out of the route in order to get rid of the competition the carrier posed to their own local operators on the route and to protect their own.
In the light of the above therefore, the AON chairman called on the Federal Government not to leave Air Peace but to stand tall with Nigerian Airlines by bringing the full weight of its political machinery and influence behind Air Peace to effectively protect the airline from all forms of Aero Politics and regulatory biases that may arise during the course of the airline’s operations into various international destinations.
The statement credited to the Chairman AON, Captain Nogie Megisson read, “AON would therefore like to call on the Federal Government to put its full weight behind Air Peace and give the carrier all the support it requires to succeed on the route in the face of stiff competition and aero politics which the carrier will face in the near future.”
“Air Peace has taken a bold step and they should be encouraged by Nigerians. The airline’s maiden flight to Dubai means more jobs for our Nigerian youths; it means jobs for over 600 unemployed Nigerian pilots; it means hope for our various Aviation Training Academies at NCAT, Zaria, International Aviation College, Ilorin and the International Helicopter Flying School, Enugu.
“It also means more travel choices for Nigerian travellers at affordable rates; it means more contribution to the Nigerian economy and GDP; it means increased growth for the Nigerian aviation sector; it means the transfer of technology and technical expertise; and it also means a reduction in capital flight from the country by foreign airlines. Government therefore needs to rally round Air Peace as a proud Nigerian operator and give the airline all the support to succeed,” Meggison stressed.
He also used the opportunity to appeal to Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to urgently provide Air Peace with a prominent space for its Private Lounge on the air side at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) designed in Air Peace colours to show that this is a Nigerian Flag Carrier base similar to what obtains in Frankfurt with Lufthansa; Heathrow with British Airways; and Dubai with Emirates.
“This is a private Nigerian airline that has invested private funds in acquisition of four (4) Boeing 777, and is flying the Nigerian flag beyond the shores of our beloved nation. It should also be put on record that no private entrepreneur in any African country has ever attempted scheduled commercial international flights apart from Nigerian private entrepreneurs. We must all therefore put all hands on deck and work together to make this effort by Air Peace succeed and become a legacy for others to build on.
“We congratulate the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and Air Peace for the bold step to the next level and we trust that with both hands joined together they will make Nigeria proud,” added Nogie Meggison.