May 19, 2024

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Foreign airlines, their state governments, collude to frustrate international operations by Nigerian airlines- Allen Onyema

4 min read

Nigeria as the goose that is laying the golden egg has severally and collectively been preyed upon by fellow Africans while, the Europeans, Americans, and the Golf carriers are out-rightly bent to kill the goose, and sadly with the support though inadvertently, of those that should protect the Nigeria state and her economy.

The proprietor of Nigeria’s foremost airline, Air Peace, barrister Allen Onyema, made the disclosure as a guest to the African Airline Association, AFRAA, during its February 2023 edition of the monthly “AFRAA SkyConnect Leadership Dialogues session”, with a member airline’s Chief Executive Officer.

Barrister Onyema in a no holds bare discussion said, as good as the motive of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA is, foreign airline operators with the connivance of their respective home governments, are subtly removing the shine from the sterling reciprocity principle embedded in the BASA treaty.

He said in Europe, especially the United Kingdom, UK, the colonialist merely paid lip service to the kernel of BASA, as the government is wont to indulge in an indirect approach to persecute and frustrate Nigerian airlines from reciprocating even a modicum of a fraction of the frequencies and slots airlines from the UK already enjoyed in Nigeria.

Onyema mentioned an instance when the Air Peace airline crew was not even allowed to alight from the aircraft when they arrived in a certain country in Europe.

Barrister Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace

He lamented that the situation was so bad that the cockpit crew was not allowed to conduct a walk around on the aircraft before being cleared for takeoff in a country that had multiple entries and multiple frequencies in Nigeria.

Barrister Onyema asked where was the principle of reciprocity extolled in the conduct of the government of that European state and the gulf carriers which exhibited palpable hostility.

He appealed to the leadership of AFRAA to give careful and proactive attention to numerous shenanigans of airlines from Europe, the gulf carriers, and some African countries who paid lip service to some of the international treaties.

The Air Peace founder also frowned at the mischief manifested very early in the life of the Single Africa Air Transport Market, SAATM, as being treacherous and not protective.

Allen Onyema said some African countries had deliberately applied outrageous tariffs to undermine the lofty principles inherent in SAATM.

He cited an African country that imposed $10,000 USD on Air Peace as a landing and parking fee, while most times, the number of passengers flown could not even cover the cost of that particular flight.

Onyema also complained of encumbrances in connectivity among African states despite SAATM and the AFCFTA.

Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Govt., Legal, & Industry Affairs of African Airlines Association, AFRAA,

He appealed for prompt and robust intervention from AFRAA and Africa Civil Aviation Commission, AFCAC, so that Africans will rightly and unitedly take charge of Africa as Europe, America, Asians, and the golf carriers all have their eyes on Africa.

He argued that if Africa continues in her state of disunity and uncoordinated administration of her rich industrial and commercial endowment, those predators already exploiting Africa’s air transport, may unwittingly be left totally loose to devour the resources God has endowed in the African continent which does not obtain anywhere else in the world.

However, the moderator of the discussion, Mr. Raphael Kuuchi, Director, Govt., Legal, & Industry Affairs of African Airlines Association, AFRAA, asked what were the efforts of the federal government of Nigeria, FGN, in the face of all those denials enunciated by the Air Peace Airline boss?

Onyema recanted several interventions at the instance of the Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, and the President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The Air Peace helmsman reminded his audience of the impasse between the Emirates and the Federal government when Air Peace was denied the frequencies it requested which led to a mild diplomatic row.

Onyema commended Hadi Sirika for invoking the principle of reciprocity by downward review of the frequencies already granted to Emirates, and the airline beat a retreat.

The Air Peace boss said shortly thereafter, the United Arab Emirates, granted the frequencies requested by Air Peace, and in consonance with the reciprocity principle in BASA, Emirates frequencies approval frozen were de-freeze and it promptly return to service the Nigeria route to wit, multiple entry ports.

Hence he expressed immense gratitude to the minister for his defense of Air Peace and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, FGN, and for his various advice to the President which culminated in some waivers.

T0 be continued…….

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