Air Peace, a Nigerian private airline, has successfully obtained the Foreign Carrier Operator Permit (FCOP) and Third Country Operator Permit (TCO-UK), allowing it to operate flights to the United Kingdom.
The permits were acquired after rigorous audits to ensure compliance with safety standards and conditions for international aviation operations, according to the airline’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Allen Onyema.
Onyema highlighted the challenges faced by Nigerian airlines, particularly the lack of transit facilities at international airports in the country. He emphasized the need for transit facilities at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, stating that these facilities are crucial for seamless passenger transit and to enhance the competitiveness of Nigerian airlines.
Additionally, Onyema pointed out the difficulty in obtaining foreign currency, specifically dollars, from the Central Bank of Nigeria. Air Peace paid the equivalent of $14 million in naira to the CBN for aircraft maintenance overseas but has not received the funds for the past six months. He also mentioned that the federal government owed Air Peace approximately $10 million, which has affected the airline’s operations.
Despite these challenges, Onyema expressed confidence in Nigerian airlines’ capacity and potential. He mentioned that Air Peace has made firm orders for 33 new aircraft and has purchase rights for 17 more, totaling 50 aircraft. These include Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 10, as well as Embraer E195-E2 aircraft. Other Nigerian carriers, such as Ibom Air and Overland Airways, have also placed orders for new aircraft, showcasing the industry’s growth potential.
Onyema urged the government to provide essential support to Nigerian airlines, emphasizing that these carriers play a significant role in job creation, economic development, and the nation’s GDP. He emphasized the importance of government backing to help Nigerian airlines thrive and succeed in the competitive aviation industry.
IMAGE: Rishworth aviation