Air Peace

Air Peace is at the forefront of a new era in Nigeria-US aviation, with the carrier and its peers set to introduce direct flights to the United States. This exciting development is expected to increase travel options, facilitate business links, and enhance cultural understanding.

The Federal Government has thrown its weight behind local airlines, granting them the green light to spread their wings globally. This backing is expected to empower Nigerian operators to tap into fresh markets and expand their international footprint.

Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation, has reiterated his commitment to reducing the financial burden of international flights, promising to bring prices down and make global connectivity more affordable for Nigerians.

The Minister shed light on proactive steps being taken to enable local airlines to assert their dominance on international routes, a move poised to revolutionize Nigeria’s aviation sector and unlock new economic opportunities.

The Minister emphasized that his ministry, in alignment with the Renewed Hope Agenda, is committed to clearing the path for local and international airlines to succeed, by addressing lingering challenges and creating a conducive environment that stimulates growth and innovation.

A representative of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, anonymously confirmed to our Correspondent that Air Peace has been recently granted the right to fly to the US, adding that other airlines are also in the consideration process.

“The airline that the government gave the right to fly to the US routes is Airpeace. There are other airlines but Airpeace has just been recently offered that,” the representative said.

An aviation analyst and member of the aviation round table, Olumide Ohunayo, over a phone interview, expressed scepticism about the readiness of Nigerian airlines to fly US routes.

“Sincerely, we are not ready. I have not seen any of the airlines in Nigeria being capable of starting the US routes,” he said.

“They have granted some airlines permission to fly to the US. But I don’t see any of the airlines with the capacity to sustain flights to the US. Remember what they did to Virgin Atlantic when they had passengers in Virgin Nigeria and they said they will not allow Virgin Atlantic to use the Virgin Nigerian opportunity to enter into America using Virgin Nigeria. That is going to happen if we have to go and lease aircraft from any of the countries that are having bilateral issues who they think have taken enough capacity from them.”

He also cited historical challenges and potential bilateral issues, warning, “If our airlines must go, our aircraft must be owned by us. I don’t think we are ready.”

In contrast, the Chief Operating Officer of United Nigeria Airlines, Osita Okonkwo, asserted that his airline is prepared, pointing out that securing slots and permits from US authorities is the main hurdle.

“We are ready, the fleet is not the issue. The issue is the counterparty’s process of getting slots.

Read also: Air Peace Has FG’s Full Support On UK Operations – Keyamo

“You can have the fleet and they can delay giving you slots. We are designated to go to the US routes but we have to get slots first. So we are doing the process. Slot and permit are major issues.

“It is a process to go through the Federal Aviation Administration of America. We have to get all those, and then we move to the next stage of going to the airport to get slots. Fleet is not the problem because many people will want to give you aircraft to do it.

George Uriesi, Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, recently restated the airline’s Africa-focused strategy, confirming that they have no intention of expanding outside the continent, and emphasizing their commitment to serving Africa’s air travel needs and consolidating their market position.

Obiora Okonkwo, Chairman of United Nigeria Airlines, confirmed that the airline is vigorously working to satisfy the necessary conditions, highlighting their resolve to maintain the highest levels of performance.

“We are working on it from our own side. As soon as the process that is required is over, we will be ready,” he said, underscoring a commitment to achieving compliance.

However, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications to Keyamo, Tunde Moshood, told journalists that the government is willing to allocate more international routes to local operators.

“There are several BASA routes to be fixed for our local operators the moment they show capacity and consistency.

The Minister has vowed to designate BASA routes to local operators who display their eagerness and aptitude, stressing that they must first demonstrate their fitness for such routes.

Africa Today News, New York 

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