Air Peace Chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema, expressed deep concern over the detrimental effects of Federal Government policies on domestic airline operators, accusing the government of hindering their growth by failing to provide necessary assistance.
Speaking at the Aviation Round Table (ART) Q2 Brunch Business Meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, Onyema highlighted bird strikes as a major cause of high mortality rates within the industry.
In 2023 alone, Air Peace reportedly suffered 18 bird strike incidents, resulting in the loss of several aircraft. Onyema emphasized the possibility of further incidents before the year’s end.
The airline recently experienced significant financial setbacks when a bird strike damaged the engine of its newly acquired Embraer 195 E2 aircraft, necessitating a $3.2 million replacement.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian Customs Service further delayed the delivery of the required parts, keeping the aircraft grounded for an additional week.
Onyema lamented that Air Peace encountered another unfortunate incident at Benin Airport, where two aircraft were lost to bird strikes in a single day. These incidents resulted in substantial financial losses and diverted resources that could have been used elsewhere.
Highlighting the need for understanding the root causes of delays and cancellations, Onyema called for scrutiny of the challenges faced by domestic airlines. He criticized the policy formulation and execution by the Federal Government, attributing them to the rapid demise of domestic airlines.
Furthermore, Onyema raised concerns regarding the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority’s recent statistics on flight delays and cancellations, as it failed to address the underlying reasons behind these issues.
VIP movements, inadequate infrastructure, limited foreign exchange availability, fuel shortages, and adverse weather conditions were identified as additional challenges contributing to flight disruptions among domestic airlines.
The domestic aviation industry in Nigeria faces significant obstacles, as both government support and a comprehensive approach to mitigating bird strikes are urgently needed.
Without prompt action, the survival and growth of domestic airlines will remain under threat, jeopardizing the entire sector’s stability