Air Peace funds still trapped in CBN – Onyema

Alex Omenye
Alex Omenye

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema, revealed that the airline’s funds are still held in the Central Bank one year after they were released by the President.

“Our funds are still trapped in CBN. 14M bidding for Hajj. The President has released these funds, but we are yet to get them,” Allen Onyema stated during an appearance on Arise TV.

Onyema also disclosed that the airline is making plans to commence flights to New York and Houston by the end of 2024 and is currently in the process of acquiring more aircraft for this purpose.

He emphasized Air Peace’s readiness to expand its flight operations, noting that the airline currently operates seven daily flights into Gatwick Airport from Nigeria.

“We are doing seven daily flights into Gatwick. Nigeria has a balance of about fourteen to do. We are ready, if the government gives us Abuja-London, I will do it because we are expecting more aircraft into the country purchased by Air Peace. If we get it, we will do it,” he said.

He added, “We are planning to hit New York or Houston towards the end of the year because we are bringing in more 777s. As I speak to you, my staff, they’re in California, the engineering technical services department, they’re in California inspecting some three 777s we want to acquire, we want to buy. So, if we could get them in the next two or three months, then of course, we are good to go anywhere.”
However, Onyema also highlighted the challenges and sabotage faced by Air Peace in launching the long-awaited Lagos-London flights.

Addressing these challenges, the Air Peace CEO explained, “You suffer what I call both internal and external conspiracies. It took us seven years. We got the designation I think about six and a half years ago to go into London. Since then, it has been a Cat-and-Mouse game.

“Whether you like it or not, there is what is called international aero politics which is very dirty. We applied for the TCO. TCO means Technical Country Operators permit; you must get that one before you start going into any European country, UK inclusive. And the TCO organization from Europe wrote our Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority- Do you know Air Peace? Do you know about their designation? And we were denied. My own country denied us, so they threw it back.

“We went back to the NCAA; they said, oh, we didn’t tell them. Who designated us, the Federal Ministry of Aviation, whose duty it was and still is to do that. We said okay, we’re ready. They refused; they said until they allow us to apply. So, we got designation from the Federal government, and the NCAA, under the same Federal Government, was telling us that we should not make any application towards going into the UK.”

Onyema emphasized the need for Nigerian airlines to receive support from the Federal Government, urging for improvements in the ease of doing business for indigenous airlines to thrive, instead of facing numerous challenges.

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