GROWING concerns over Air Peace’s acquired Boeing 777-200/300ER being Aircraft on Ground (AOG) has led the airline’s Chairman, Chief Allen Onyema to clarify the true reason why the aircraft are yet to be put to use.
Onyema also decried federal government’s multiple designation policy stating that no country opens its flanks for its economy to be raped by those who do not provide jobs or add to the country’s economy.
Onyema who addressed newsmen at the weekend explained that the concerns were coming from people who had moribund ideas on how international permits are gotten to commence operations.
According to him, things have changed from just submitting the name of aircraft to be used as most destination Civil Aviation Authority require that the operator present the particular aircraft, its tail number and its documentation to show ownership or that there is a lease.
Onyema said,”When you are given international destinations, it is no longer the way it was before. When they give you these destinations you now apply to the other countries. Those countries, in fact China, before you can say what kind of aircraft you want to use (777,747) no plane just apply. These days it is not so. These days, you must present that aircraft with its tail number, not just any aircraft, they will see your document that you own the aircraft or you have dry leased it. “
“They will see payment and everything and see the number, the thing is attached to your application. It’s not ‘this is the aircraft I will be using’ as it used to happen before. So some of those experts are not current about what is happening.”
He derided so-called experts who misled the public over the true state of things and using their moribund ideas to explain current trends .
“They don’t know, you apply to these countries, they need to see your aircraft, my brothers to buy an airplane is not same as buying a car or bicycle. So many things go into it. You get these aircraft, you send them to maintenance facilities they will inspect, before you even buy inspections will go on for several months. When you finally buy you push them to maintenance facilities for maintenance programs. Remember wide body planes are not like these smaller jets, or 737. 737 the maintenance facilities are all over the place, but 777 there are a few places, you buy and queue in for your slot. Remember if these countries allowed us not to buy before giving us permit, we didn’t need to buy and park, because you will park.”
“The process are ongoing, but the plane will be in your country waiting, if you wait for so long you go and do another maintenance and bring it back again. That is what is happening, not that we went out to buy an aircraft we are not operating when people say they have given us routes to fly and we are not making use of them. That is not so, we’ve applied and the processes to fly into these countries are ongoing. So what we require is that government should help us fast track by playing the aero politics for the airlines. The planes are on ground not because we want if so but because those permits have not been obtained yet.”
On the multiple designation, Onyema explained that routes given to airlines be reduced so they partner with a Nigerian carrier to take them to their destination instead of opening the air space to all.
He said, “The gulf carriers of Qatar ,Oman, Dubai and others they were ravaging America and the airlines cried out and reminded the government of America that they are providing the jobs. ‘Why all these carriers that are being subsidized will come here and be competing with us, it’s not fair,’ and the government reduced their frequency.”
“Ethiopia is flying into five destinations what stops Nigeria from telling them to fly from just two. If you want to go to Kano Azman and Max Air are there. That is how to grow this industry. If you want to go to Lagos Aero , Arik, Air each we are all there. “
“No country allows its flanks open in the name of open skies, open skies is on paper. America signed every aviation document under the sun, Britain signed all the aviation documents. What the Europeans are doing is use the TCO to prevent you. There are so many ways they bring things to the fore to frustrate you from coming in. Why are we leaving our flanks open in the name of big brother by allowing people like Ethiopia, we don’t even fly to Ethiopia, no airline flies to Ethiopia, yet we are celebrating them.”