The Chairman of Nigeria’s major carrier, Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema has urged the federal government to adopt the principle of reciprocity in giving out frequencies to foreign airlines.
Onyema noted that many host countries of foreign airlines that operate into Nigeria do not allow Nigerian airlines to operate into their countries despite the support and acceptability given to them by the Nigerian government.
He therefore wants Nigeria to approve the requests of foreign airlines which host countries are also willing to give approval for Nigerian airlines to operate into their countries, noting that this is the principle of reciprocity that guides international diplomacy.
Speaking during a press conference on Monday in Lagos, Onyema noted that the hostile attitude of these countries is largely observed in Africa.
“Nigeria has the right to fly into African countries but we are only doing Ghana presently. Those other countries never wanted to answer our emails. We had to send people there. We went to them pleading; but they see Air Peace and other Nigerian airlines as a threat.
“Senegal has not been here, since two years we requested to operate to Dakar, to come and see our facilities to approve us to come. We have written them but they have refused. We have provided everything they wanted. Cote d’Ivoire did it to us because they wanted to protect Air Cote d’Ivoire. I wanted to take them to court when they sent for us but only gave us only one grand handling service and requested that we pay $4,000 per landing,” Onyema said.
He explained that while Air Cote d’Ivoire operates about three frequencies into Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire has refused Nigerian airlines into their country.
“We want government to protect us from foreign airlines as they are not allowing us to go into their countries. If they are doing this to us, let us do same to their airlines and let us see if they can survive.
“We have gone to Douala, but they also didn’t accept us, it was only Ghana that answered us. We are ready to go into other African countries, we have the equipment but they have refused to allow us. In a bid to protect Asky Airline, they have also refused us going into Togo; meanwhile, they come to Nigeria and ply Lagos-Abuja routes and even poach our pilots. African countries set up their airlines with Nigeria as a target,” he said.