The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has called out foreign airline operators for overcharging Nigerians on trips to London, the United Kingdom capital.
In a video clip seen by TechEconomy, the Air Peace boss questioned why Nigerians should pay a whopping N2.3 million for an economy ticket to London when Air Peace, an indigenous operator, would charge N500,000.
“As I speak to you, the UK is doing 21 frequencies into my country. They have not been able to respect Airpeace’s ordinary email. They even had the temerity to write us to say we should stop writing them. Whenever they are ready they will get across to us.
“Why are Nigerians paying 2.3 million Naira for an economy ticket to go to London when Air Peace could have taken 500,000 Naira for the same trip.”
Onyema said in the last 25 years, Nigerians have been paying more than any other country for the same trip. “The people from South Africa, nine hours away from London, have been paying less than Nigerians on a six-hour flight.”
Onyema also accused foreigners of failing to comply with the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA), which provides for both repatriations of funds.
BASA is an air transport agreement between two countries that allows designated airlines to operate commercial flights, covering the transportation of passengers and cargoes.
According to Onyema, the most important aspect of BASA is reciprocity. “Have these foreign airlines and their countries abided by that? Have they respected the BASA they signed with Nigeria? The answer is no.”
Continuing, he said: “You know, the other time we fought one of the countries from the Middle East. They were doing about twenty-something frequencies to Nigeria, not even one to us. We had to fight for it.”
On the trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines, Onyema said he wished they got their funds. He, however, debunked the reports that funds were deliberately seized.
“It pains me when Nigerians and some agents go on television, criticizing the federal government of Nigeria, saying that the government has failed, because foreign airlines didn’t get their funds. I support airlines in getting their funds. The Central Bank of Nigeria didn’t seize anybody’s money.
“They just wanted to get the exchange through the Central Bank’s official window. They could also go through the I&E window, which is a little bit more expensive.”
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria has always supported indigenous operations and called on operators to start international operations to so to save money for the country, but foreign airlines do not allow them to come to their country to operate