Canada cancels evacuation by Nigerian airline over safety concerns
• Air Peace To Refund Travellers
The Nigeria High Commission in Canada has disclosed that the denial of landing rights to indigenous carrier, Air Peace, for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada was due to safety concerns.
He, however, assured that efforts were on in Canada to secure an alternative arrangement to airlift over 300 stranded Nigerians home as soon as possible and at the least cost possible, adding that updates would be communicated in due course.
In the interim, Air Peace would have to make a refund to all intending passengers that earlier paid the evacuation airfares.
There has been an alleged diplomatic intrigue and conflict of interest over the choice of operating carrier, which stalled the repatriation earlier scheduled for last week.
While the Nigerian government designated Air Peace for the special operation, the Canadian government was alleged to have preferred Ethiopian Airlines (ET), though at more expensive cost for the travellers.
It was learnt that ET is charging $2, 500 per voluntary returnee for the flight earlier planned for Monday, May 18, while Air Peace charged $1,134 for the same trip.
To date, 319 passengers had paid to the Nigerian airline, which had concluded plans to operate full flight to the North American country.
But a letter dated May 20, this year, with reference: NHT/OTT/ADM.56/1, from the Nigeria High Commission in Canada, titled, ‘Update on the flight postponement,’ the mission explained that it initially engaged a number of airlines in a bidding process and eventually came up with an arrangement and pricing structure with Air Peace, which no other airline was able to match.
It further explained that following its public notice of May 12, this year, “the Canadian government had expressed reservations concerning the granting of the necessary clearance/landing permit for Air Peace to fly into Canada due to safety concern.”
After protracted engagement, the Mission stated that the Canadian government “has unfortunately reverted with what appears to be a final refusal. As a result, the Air Peace arrangement is hereby cancelled.”
It hinted that during the negotiation with Air Peace, the issue of refunds was addressed in the event that the flight did not hold due to unforeseen circumstances and as such, everyone would get refunds for their tickets from the airline, as agreed.
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