By Yunus Yusuf
Lagos – The Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Mrs Oluwatoyin Olajide, has urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for indigenous airlines to succeed by putting in place facilities and equipment.
Olajide made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday.
She noted that government should also ensure the provision of good infrastructure for smooth conduct of air travel services.
Olajide noted that improvement was still needed in the industry to help airlines survive.
“The airlines should be given some incentives and reduce all the multiple charges and taxation.
“Government needs to stop multiple destinations to foreign carriers. Foreign carriers should not be allowed to conduct domestic operations within Nigeria.
“This is suicidal and injurious to the survival of domestic operators in Nigeria,” she said.
Olajide advised that government should withhold permits from foreign carriers on any route that an indigenous carrier was ready to commence flight operations or already operating on.
“The government and regulatory bodies should see airlines as being their partners in progress. Once this is done, conducting business will be significantly easier and it will go a long way in developing the sector.
“Once we can have all that in place in the areas of airport infrastructure, right landing aids, right operating environment, then this country will have a very viable aviation sector.
“It is possible and doable because this is one industry that generates huge revenue for the economy of this country.
“It is one industry that the government needs to pay attention to. We don’t want to destroy it,” she said.
On the assessment of Air Peace operations in 2019, she said some new routes were launched and more importantly, it commenced its Dubai flight operations.
“We now fly to 22 different destinations in seven countries. This same year, we signed contracts for the purchase of new aircraft.
“We are currently expecting 13 Embraer 195-E2 Jets; some of which will be delivered in the first quarter of 2020.
“Also, we made our debut appearance at the biennial Dubai Air Show where one of the E195-E2 jets was displayed.
“This is growth. For an airline that is just half a decade old achieving all these strides in our kind of environment, I think it is an amazing success,’’ she said.
According to her, our growth is sustained by commitment to excellence; our greatest asset is our integrity; and our greatest goal is safety coupled with on-time departure.
“These have greatly contributed to our growth in the aviation sector, making us a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria and West Africa.
“Yes, there have been challenges this year but the wins outweigh them and we focus on the wins,” Olajide said.
On plans for 2020, she said that the airline would be taking delivery of some of its Embraer 195-E2 Jets which would boost operations both locally and regionally.
“Also, we intend to commence flying some of our international routes. We are intensifying efforts to make this happen in the first half of 2020.
“So, our esteemed customers and the flying public will have more aircraft to aid their transportation,” she said.