- Air Peace has refuted what it described as unfounded claims made against it by former Aviation Minister Senator Hadi Sirika.
- First, the airline denied suspending flights to Dubai due to lack of capacity, stating that the suspension was a result of the UAE’s visa ban on Nigerians.
- The airline also refuted former Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika’s claim that it incurred losses after leasing aircraft, asserting that they outrightly purchased three Boeing 777 planes.
Air Peace has debunked former Aviation Minister’s claim that it suspended flight operations to Dubai due to a lack of capacity.
Instead, the airline explained that the suspension of visa issuance to Nigerians by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) led to its temporary suspension of flights to the gulf country.
The airline stated this in reaction to comments made by the former Aviation during an interview with Arise TV on Sunday June 11, 2023. During the interview, the former minister stated that Air Peace suspended direct flight services to Dubai due to a lack of capacity.
A rebutal against Hadi Sirika
During the interview, Hadi Sirika also alleged that Air Peace leased two Boeing 777 aircraft on a monthly basis for $250,000, parked the aircraft for several months and incurred losses of $19 million. He added that the aircraft engines and landing gears became due for replacement when it was ready to fly.
But Air Peace described the claim as a “blatant lie,” saying that the airline had three B777 aircraft as against two alleged by Sirika.
The airline insisted that it never leased or rented the aircraft, but purchased them outrightly. In the same vein, the company denied that it incurred any losses as claimed by Sirika, challenging him to make enquiries from the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) on the purchase and ownership of the aircraft. Part of a statement by the company said:
- “Secondly, Sirika said the airline stopped flying to Dubai because ‘we lack capacity’. This is another stark lie.
- “Air Peace never stopped the Dubai operations because of lack of capacity. Air Peace commenced operations in the UAE in July 2019, but in October 2022, the UAE Government announced a total visa ban on Nigerians.
- “Neither Emirates nor Air Peace is operating the Nigerian/UAE route since the ban. The persisting non-issuance of visas and the accompanying inconveniences necessitated the suspension of our Dubai operations from November 22, 2022, till date.”
Air Peace shocked by unfounded allegations
The airline said that the former minister’s decision to ascribe its suspension of Dubai services to lack of capacity was not only shocking but also showed how keen he was to disparage an airline.
Air Peace then reiterated that it placed a firm order for 13 brand new E2-195 aircraft, a firm order of 15 Boeing 737 Max 8 and Max 10, while over 30 aircraft are already in its existing fleet.
- “How can an airline that stood up for the entire nation during the Covid-19 outbreak, and embarked on rescue operations worldwide, evacuating Nigerians from far-away China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, UK and South Africa during the Covid-19 lockdowns be accused of lacking capacity?”
The airline finally implored the public to disregard Sirika and his unfounded claims.
In case you missed it
During his interview with Arise TV, Senator Sirika made a number of other controversial relevations which have been refuted by those involved.
Notably, he accused the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji, of soliciting 5% shares in the controversial Nigeria Air project. But Nnaji refuted the claim in a statement seen by Nairametrics.