By Prince Okafor
West Africa’s largest carrier, Air Peace said it is in the International Air Transport Association, IATA, clearing house and has the right equipment and personnel to operate international service.
This is coming against the backdrop of stakeholders alleging that Nigerian airlines cannot succeed in international operation because they are not in IATA clearing house.
They also argued that Nigerian airlines cannot operate point to point.
But in a swift reaction, the Air Peace Corporate Communication Head, Stanley Olisa noted that it was an obvious expression of ignorance.
According to him, “Air Peace has what it takes to succeed on international routes and has forged strategic foreign operational alliances to sustain its overseas operations.
“We are not in the business of prosecuting campaigns of calumny on other airlines but for an expert to gloss over Air Peace, the only Nigerian airline operating regional and international flights for over six years, is not only unfair but is reflective of those old games that have stopped working.”
While reacting to the stakeholder remark that point-to-point operational model does not allow Nigerian airlines to succeed on international routes, he said: “We agree with him that the model has its limitations but he failed to add or realise that Nigeria does not have transit facilities at international airports.
“Air Peace operates connecting flights such as Lagos-Banjul-Dakar and Lagos-Accra-Monrovia. Besides, Nigerian airlines are pushing that the Nigerian Immigration Service should recognize transit passengers and not insist that they obtain Nigerian visa before connecting their flight.
“We hope that things will change when a transit facility is built at our airports and the Nigerian Immigration Service is on the same page with us about transit passengers. That is even when we would be ready to benefit from the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
“We expected the stakeholder to comment on the myriad of challenges confronting Nigerian airlines instead of indirectly castigating Air Peace, the largest carrier in Nigeria operating about 3000 flights monthly, a figure that is higher than the total number of flights operated by all the other Nigerian airlines put together.”