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Hadi Sirika AVM

FG’s intervention needed for Air Peace to fly designated international routes—Experts

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Aviation pundits have argued that unless federal might is involved, Air Peace may continue to wallow in futility assessing approvals from operators of international destinations which the Ministry of Aviation had long allowed.
Otherwise, the airline is 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.
Business Hilights can authoritatively report that the federal government had designated Air Peace to fly to London, Guangzhou-China, Houston, US, Mumbai, India, Johannesburg, South Africa, Dubai and Sharjahin, the United Arab Emirates, but these countries are yet to give approval for the Nigerian carrier to serve these routes.
Experts, who barred their minds on the frustrating scenario, linked the challenge to aero politics in which countries try to protect their own airlines against competition from outsiders.
According to Chief Dan Ofoegbu, an aviation chief, he said “For Air Peace to rightly overcome this obstacle, the federal government has a big job to do in using high powered executive appeals and balancing to push and break these barriers in the spirit of diplomatic reciprocity”.
He added that “Even here in our West coast, the same problem is rearing its head as some of our local carriers that have the capacity are not clearly allowed to ply their business even as these countries local carrier usually have unhindered access to our airports”.
Aligning with Ofoegbu’s views, another industry captain, who pleaded anonymity said “The aero politics has been one of the major challenges of Nigerian airlines and no government has found it necessary to help clear these international routes encumbrances. That is why our airlines do not grow to stardom”.
He said “We had expected the Minister of State for Aviation to take it upon himself to pay working visits to some of these countries and have a one-on-one talk with authorities involved. I think such mission will further open closed doors for aviation companies like Air Peace in seamless route expansion and benefiting from several Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) Nigeria signed with different countries.

On taking the challenge of opening roads for indigenous investors abroad, the expert advised the Presidency to emulate President Donald Trump who recently expressed anger on why French wines sell more than US wines in US and noted that time has come to review associated taxes in US to create markets for local goods than foreign goods.

“To me that is how a government that takes the success of its indigenous investors should act and with what he has said, he will soon match it with trade policy action. I think that our President and even the Minister should take the challenges faced by local airlines in getting approvals in foreign lands to ply their trade.
In an interview, the Chief Operating Officer of Air peace, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, revealed that up till now, “Authorities of most of the international destinations the carrier had been designated to operate to were either deliberately foot-dragging in processing its application or imposing frustrating conditions to discourage it from flying into their domains”.
She made it clear that Air Peace is ever ready to take up the entire designated international routes at the moment the observed official bureaucracies are neutralized.

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