Air Peace Chairman Onyema underscores the significance of airport infrastructure for thriving in the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).
Additionally, he reveals Air Peace’s acquisition of essential Foreign Carrier Operator Permit (FCOP) and Third Country Operator Permit (TCO-UK).
Speaking during Air Peace’s 9th anniversary, Onyema addresses operational challenges and pivotal advancements.
Emphasizing priorities, he contends that infrastructure upgrades surpass the need for a national carrier, benefiting existing players and the country.
Specifically, Onyema highlights the absence of transit facilities at MMIA, Lagos, and Abuja airports, impeding Nigerian airlines’ competitiveness.
He states, “Air Peace operates to West and Central Africa, bringing passengers to Lagos and airlifting them to long-haul destinations.”
“But unfortunately, we don’t have a transit facility where these passengers will stay until they board their next flight. Immigration and Customs haven’t segmented passengers; in other countries, passengers wait in transit facilities on the airside until their next flight.
Addressing currency exchange hurdles, Onyema discloses a six-month delay in receiving $14 million for aircraft maintenance, hindering airline growth.
He said,”We ferried 15 aircraft for maintenance, paid $14 million in naira to CBN. Yet, the funds are delayed, hindering airline growth. This is money we borrowed at 26% interest rate but six months have passed and we are yet to get this money from CBN.
Despite facing challenges with transit facilities and currency exchange, Onyema remains optimistic about the potential for success on long-haul routes
Onyema concludes, “We need a conducive environment and government support for Nigerian airlines to reach their full capacity.”
Providing insight into FCOP and TCO-UK permits, he outlines their importance for international flight operations, stressing the rigorous audit process.
“The FCOP allows airlines from other regions to fly to Europe, the TCO-UK allows airlines to operate to the United Kingdom.”