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Cancelled visas were verified by platforms provided by Saudi govt, Foreign affairs – Air Peace

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Air Peace has responded to reports on cancelling the visas of 177 Nigerians out of the 264 passengers that flew with it to Jeddah on November 12, 2023.

According to the airline, the visas were verified using the visa confirmation platform provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia which confirmed the validity of each passenger visa before passengers were allowed to check-in for the flight.

The statement by signed by Oluwatoyin Olajide, chief operating officer, Air Peace, she said that Air Peace, as a scheduled flight operator with vast international operations experience, understands and complies with established protocols governing international flight operations and is not culpable of any infraction in this respect.

She explained that Air Peace is a scheduled operator between Nigeria and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the said flight was a scheduled flight and not a chartered/UMAR/HAJJ or any special flight.

“This scheduled flight means we are allowed to airlift all categories of passengers with different types of Visas as long as their Visas are VALID and approved by the Saudi Arabian Authorities. We are not limited to UMAR or HAJJ Visas alone on a scheduled flight.

Read also Visa cancellation: Passengers submitted incorrect information to obtain visa – Saudi govt

“The visas of all passengers on the said flight to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia were checked and verified through the requisite procedures and were vetted to be valid before departure.

“The visas were verified using the visa confirmation platform provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia which confirmed the validity of each passenger visa before passengers were allowed to check-in for the flight.

All the Visas of the 264 passengers were duly verified, confirmed, and accepted as authentic for the trip through the Visa Portal provided by the Saudi Arabia Authorities, if not, no passengers would have been able to depart from Nigeria. This is just one of two steps required before a passenger is accepted on the flight to Saudi Arabia.

ReadSaudi Arabia cancelled visas of 18 passengers from Nigeria over past offences – FG

“The next step is using the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS). We equally use this system to determine the admissibility or otherwise of each passenger on that flight,” she stated.

She explained that the APIS was live between Air Peace’s reservation system and the Saudi Arabia National Travel Security Center Carrier Portal to transmit passenger details before departure, to the Saudi Authorities further to determine the admissibility or otherwise of the passengers.

According to her, no cancellation notice or denial from the Saudi Authorities was received against any of these passengers despite the live transmission of their details.

Furthermore, the passenger manifest containing the names of all passengers on board the flight was sent to the Saudi Arabia National Travel Security Center Carrier Portal before the flight departure, yet no notice of visa cancellation was received against any of these passengers, she said.

“We would like to reiterate that Air Peace strictly followed the profiling procedures stipulated by the Saudi Arabian Authorities and we are still shocked that upon arrival in Jeddah, the visas of our passengers were cancelled without any cogent explanation even till now.

“The immigration officers of Saudi Arabia were equally surprised that valid visas were cancelled the way it was done,” Olajide stated.