Nigeria’s domestic airline, Air Peace is under the spot light again following the delay of the airline’s flight from taking off as scheduled at Enugu Airport at the weekend and an alleged debt owed it owed the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
National Daily gathered that Air Peace is owing FAAN N7 million being charges for services rendered till the end of April this year, and its inability to pay has led to a frosty relationship between the two.
However, the airline’ Chairman, Allen Onyeama denied the allegation, insisting that it was not indebted to the FAAN. He accused FAAN of sabotaging the airline’s operations, especially the delayed flight in Enugu, which he said was delayed by over two hours.
He said that the delay disrupted the company’s operations and cost the airline several millions of naira, stressing that its night operations back to Enugu Airport were affected.
Onyema threatened to sue the FAAN over the stalling of its operations at Enugu if it was not properly compensated by the management of the agency.
But FAAN, through its Enugu Airport Manager, Mgbemena Orjiakor, said the airline was being economical with the truths.
He said a Boeing 5N-BQR belonging to Air Peace on Flight to Lagos from Enugu was actually delayed for 43 minutes and not two hours as claimed by Onyema.
The aircraft that was scheduled to depart Enugu at 7:15 a.m. eventually departed at 7:58 a.m. after the airport manager confirmed that Air Peace had paid off some of its debts.
National Daily gathered that the airline has yet to pay the balance of N5 million as claimed by its chairman while another N3 million debt had accumulated from May 2017 till date.
Commenting on the issue, Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu, Secretary General of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), who claimed to have been following the development, commended the airport manager, Orjiakor, for his boldness to stop the aircraft from flying.
Saidu also wanted other airport managers to emulate Orjiakor in order to force debtor airlines to pay up their debts to the various agencies in the industry.
He recalled that the accumulation of unserviced debts led to the introduction of a ‘pay as you go’ scheme by a former Minister of Aviation, Fidelia Njeze, in 2008. He also alleged that Air Peace for about three times could not land at the Enugu Airport due to violating the 7p.m. deadline.