Nigeria doesn’t need foreign airline’s assistance to set up national carrier — Air Peace boss

Mr Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace, says Nigeria does not need the assistance of any foreign airline to establish a new national carrier for the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onyema made the assertion while speaking at the 23rd Annual Conference of the League of Airports and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) on Wednesday in Ikeja.

Onyema said Nigeria was blessed with competent aviation personnel capable of transforming the country into an aviation hub without any exploitative foreign intervention.

He said the recent claim by Ethiopian Airlines that it was in talks with the Federal Government to establish an airline in Nigeria was an affront to the country.

Onyema said: “Nigerian airlines are very strong and it is insulting for another African airline to come to our country to help us to set up a national carrier.

“The government must trust our airlines because as I speak, other African countries are coming to Air Peace for assistance to set up their own national carriers which we have agreed to assist them in a win-win situation.

“We must begin to resist such moves to belittle Nigerian carriers in order to continuously exploit the country.

“How many Nigerians have the 34 foreign airlines flying into the country employed in the last 10 years. Is it commensurate with what they have taken out of the country? ”

He said Air Peace recently started operations to Sharjah-Dubai in the United Arab Emirates which had led other gulf carriers to slash fares on the route.

According to him, such moves and other hostile tactics by foreign governments were responsible for the failure of Nigeria airlines on the lucrative international routes.

On the Single African Air Transportation Market (SAATM), Onyema said the policy was a fraud against Nigeria because there was no level playing field for airlines in the country.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the support being given to Nigeria carriers, especially with the removal of Value Added Tax and granting of waivers on aircraft spares.

Onyema said there were investors willing to come into the sector but were being discouraged because of the policies currently in place which were impeding business growth. (NAN)