Air Peace has said there is no atom of truth in the allegation levelled against it by the Secretary General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASTRI), Mr John Ojikutu, that domestic airlines’ outright acquisition of aircraft was a clever way of taking funds overseas.
The airline said that it was because of the difficulty and high cost of aircraft leasing that Nigerian airlines resort to outright acquisition of aircraft for commercial flight operation.
Reacting to the comments in a statement issued by its Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, Air Peace said Ojikutu’s position was an undisguised attack on its image as a responsible corporate citizen working hard to contribute to Nigeria’s economy and do the nation proud through efficient domestic, regional and international air services.
The airline dismissed Ojikutu’s views on outright purchase of aircraft and the option of wet lease and explained that Air Peace recently took delivery of its second Boeing 777 aircraft for its planned long-haul operations.
“While we have no problem with people expressing differing opinions on the airline business, we frown as such allegation because this is a deliberate attempt to present us before members of the public as a fraudulent organisation, working to sabotage and subvert the current efforts of the federal government to place the nation’s economy on a sound footing.
“We reaffirm our resolve to end the domination of our airspace by foreign carriers at the detriment of Nigeria’s economy. We have trained a lot of Nigerian pilots and engineers on the operation of the Boeing 777 aircraft and we would continue to do so as we expand our operations.
The statement said Air Peace acquired the long haul fleet for its planned operations to international destinations and advised that instead of peddling rumours, the airline is open to answer questions from any stakeholder that may want to know more about its operations.
The airline said those who don’t want domestic airlines to grow should know that foreign carriers do not employ Nigerians; that the domestic airlines they attempt to bring down employs hundreds of Nigerians
“Foreign airlines dominate Nigeria’s airspace because there are those Nigerians who are very comfortable with that; who would do anything to ensure that domestic carriers do not come up to compete with these international airlines,” the statement also said.