Air Peace loses N3b to grounding of aircraft, flight delays

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*L-R: Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, Director of Flight Operations, Capt. Wellington Eyimina and Chief Pilot, Capt. Victor Egonu, at the press briefing in Lagos

Air Peace has lost over N3 billion since its aircraft were grounded last week due to incidents that affected two of its aircraft at the general aviation terminal in Lagos and one at the Benin Airport.

The chairman of the airline, Mr. Allen Onyema who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos also said the airline would require more than N300 million to repair the aircraft damaged in the incidents.

Besides, he said the airline would need over N250 million to repair the winglet of one of the aircraft that damaged at the GAT.

“We lost three aircraft in one day; two of them in Lagos when there was a collision that destroyed the winglet of these aircraft, and the other incident happened in Benin airport when equipment belonging to Skypower Aviation Handling Co. Ltd damaged one of our aircraft at Benin Airport.

“We had to ground these aircraft and look for how to fix them. In fact, we have lost over N3 billion in the process. We had 24 flights affected and we had to plan in 24 hours how to solve this problem. It was not our making as this meant we had to reschedule or even cancel some flights and also make provisions to entertain the affected passengers at various airports,” he said

Onyema said the delays and cancellation of flights had angered some passengers who resorted to the molestation of the airline’s staff and the destruction of some facilities.

“They abused our staff verbally; they beat up one of our elderly staff and stripped him naked and destroyed our facilities. They enter into the airside of an airport and stop a flight from taking off in protest. This is what we now face from unruly and violent passengers who want to fly at all cost whenever flights are cancelled or delayed. It is not done anywhere in the world.

Passengers misbehaving this way around an aircraft pose a threat to the aircraft because anyone among them can throw something and sabotage the aircraft. It is time the government takes steps to protect airlines and staff so it doesn’t lead to self defence by airlines,” he added.

The managing director also demanded that the government puts an end to the sale and consumption of alcohol inside   airport premises saying some of the actions of the unruly passengers was as a result of intoxication.

Besides, he charged the federal government to set up a committee to review the various taxes paid by airlines to various airport and regulatory agencies in the country.

He said multiple taxation regime when combined with the high cost of aviation fuel was posing a serious threat to the survival of airlines in the country.     Onyema also said local airlines were having difficulties reciprocating some routes within the West African sub-region under the Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) signed by the federal government with those countries.

He cited Cameroon, Togo, and Cote d’Ivoire as some of those countries frustrating Air Peace from flying into their countries through various bureaucratic bottlenecks and he promised to challenge their actions in Nigeria courts.

 

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