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Air Peace Chairman Onyema: why our airlines fail on international route
Onyema: why our airlines fail on international routes

 July 9, 2019

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Many domestic carriers fail on international routes because they do not get the support of the government in playing ‘’aero politics’’, Air Peace Chairman, Allen Onyema has said.

Onyema said unless indigenous carriers got the backing of their government, they would not be able to compete favourably with foreign carriers.

Speaking at the weekend when the airline inaugurated its Lagos- Dubai route, he called on the government to support indigenous carriers through policies that will not stifle them out of operations.

While appreciating the government for exempting airlines from paying the Value Added Tax (VAT) and custom duties on aircraft/spares import, he said a situation where the government designate foreign airlines on multiple routes and grant them more frequencies into Nigerian cities was not only killing our airlines, but also unhealthy for the sustainability of the industry.

He urged the government to get more involved in playing aero politics to sustain indigenous carriers on designated international routes.

Onyema said: “If we must succeed on this Dubai route, the government must support us. We cannot do it alone. We can only do our best but the rest lies with the government. The government must stop unfair competition in this sector. The United States government did it when the Gulf carriers swooped on them, so the policy of multiple designations and frequencies for foreign carriers is detrimental to our economy. Our airlines will not grow under this policy. The government must help us grow the sector and not stifle it, but I know the President is a nationalist who is ready to support our carriers. Aviation is a very tough business. I plead with Nigerians and the government to support Air Peace. We promise to give Nigerians modern equipment and unparalleled services.”

He  said Air Peace will not be able combat aero politics without the support of government, lamenting that many Nigerian carriers had been unable to sustain their operations on the route.

“I have the plan to sustain the operations, but if I am not supported by the government, there is little or nothing I can do. If, for instance, the government allows more frequencies of other airlines from United Arabs Emirates (UAE) into Nigeria, how will Air Peace compete? Air Peace can only be successful with support from government,” he said.

Onyema, who disclosed that the airline has signed an interline agreement with a company that will distribute its passengers with Air Arabia to onward destinations from Dubai, revealed plans to start Johannesburg, Guangzhou and London routes soon, adding that before the end of the year, it plans to increase its B777 fleet to six.

“We are not are not just doing Sharjah operations alone, we’ve signed agreement with a company, whereby our passengers can be distributed through Air Arabia to their final destinations other than Dubai. The next route we are launching by August 30 is Johannesburg, South Africa has audited Air Peace, we have started setting up our structures there. We are already looking for a partner airline. We want to have alliance with other airlines  to succeed. We are close to signing the agreement. The next is India. We might start that route by September. The Federal Government has written to the Indian government and they have told it what to do. We must employ their citizen, with military experience, as chief security officer for the flight. We are planning to discuss with Air India for partnership.

“The next route would be Guangzhou. China will not allow an airline to operate without necessary equipment and aircraft. You must show tail registration of your aircraft; so, we have presented our papers to their government. Before the end of the year, we would have six Boeing 777,” he added.

Earlier, Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the UAE, urged the airline to offer good services to its customers, adding that on-time departure and arrival are key to sustaining the operations.

“The only thing the government can do is to provide diplomatic and political support. I call on Nigerians to also support this airline,” he said.

Also, Country Manager, Air Peace in UAE, Reham Mustafa, expressed happiness that the plans to create jobs for people became a reality on Saturday, pledging the airline’s unwavering and quality services.
Great Scenes! from Air Peace's launch of international operations & the carrier's inaugural flight to Dubai-Sharjah on its luxurious Boeing 777 (The Boeing Company) on 5 July 2019 


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