Airline operators rally support for Air Peace on int’l front
Airline operators, on Tuesday, rallied behind Air Peace, seeking Federal Government’s support for the carrier to succeed on the international front.
The group, under the aegis of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), though commended the government for allotting six international routes to Air Peace; they said a flag carrier would only succeed, if the government helped it fight aeropolitics.
Air Peace’s recent launch of Dubai operations makes the airline the fourth Nigerian private airline to foray into the competitive international market. AON observed that the other three collapsed mainly due to aeropolitics, which is 85 per cent the role of government.
The attendant dominance of the market by foreign carriers has been estimated to cost Nigeria $3 billion in capital flight.The Chairman of AON, Capt. Nogie Meggison, therefore, called on the Federal Government to put its weight behind Air Peace to succeed where others like Arik, Bellview, and Med-View had failed.
“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 said.
The Chairman added that aeropolitics had 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; Med-View, 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.
The hurdles allegedly discredited 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 routes.
The AON called on the Federal Government not to leave Air Peace but to stand tall with Nigerian Airlines, and bring the full weight of its political machinery and influence behind Air Peace’s operations into various international destinations.
He also called on the 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.