The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has revealed that not less than 15 aircrafts belonging to its fleet are currently stranded at different maintenance hangers abroad due to inability to secure forex at reasonable rate. Further checks showed that Dana Air, Max Air, Azman Air, Arik Air, and other domestic carriers have over 25 airplanes currently grounded abroad and locally due to the same forex crisis.
Besides, it is this many number of stranded crafts that have fueled rampant cancelation and delaying of flights in recent times.
Chief Onyema, who said spoke, last week in Abuja added that the carrier spent over N78bn on aircraft maintenance last year.
Onyema, a lawyer spoke at the Annual Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association held in Abuja.
He said, “Air Peace has about USD14m stranded in the Central Bank Nigeria. It is not hidden. We also have about 15 aircraft stranded abroad. After, people will say Nigerian airlines lack capacity. They do not lack capacity; what they lack is truthful government support and ease of doing business.
“Do you know the amount this country spends on aircraft maintenance through its airlines? Air Peace alone in 2022, expended N78bn on maintenance and these funds went to foreign countries. How can local investments grow like this?”
The Managing Director, Dana Air, Jacky Hathiramani, said aside from Air Peace, other domestic carriers were battling with the problem of dollar scarcity, saying it was high time the Federal Government intervened to save the domestic airline industry.
He said, “All domestic carriers are having challenge with forex. We have about four planes looking for forex from CBN for about two years and it’s about $4m. It needs to be known that many airlines have forex issues. The CBN need to help the aviation industry, so that airlines can maintain their schedules.”
According to findings, Max Air needs forex to complete routine maintenance of four planes in its fleet.