• Saturday, December 02, 2023
businessday logo


Sirika lied about us – COO, Air Peace

Why Saudi Arabia cancelled visa of Air Peace passengers in Jeddah – MD, Arafat Air Services

Toyin Olajide, chief operating officer, Air Peace has stated that Hadi Sirika, the former minister of aviation lied about some of the claims he made on Air Peace during his Sunday Arise TV interview.

Sirika, while praising Ethiopian Airline, stated that Air Peace leased ‘two’ Boeing 777 aircraft on a monthly lease fee of $250,000, parked the aircraft for several months and incurred losses of $19 million while all the aircraft engines and landing gears became due for replacement when the airline were ready to fly.

The former minister went on to ask, “who does that?”. He stated that Ethiopian Airlines would never do that.

In response to this, Olajide said in a statement that “this is a blatant lie as we have three and not two Boeing 777 aircraft which were never leased or rented, but were purchased outrightly by the airline.

“Air peace never incurred such a loss, we never paid rentals contrary to his lies. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) can attest to the purchase and ownership of the Aircraft by Air peace.”

Sirika also said the airline stopped flying to Dubai because it lacks capacity. The COO of Air Peace also described this as “another stark lie.”

Read also: Aircraft used for Nigeria Air launch was Ethiopian Airlines’ marketing strategy – Sirika 

According to her, Air Peace never stopped the Dubai operations because of lack of capacity. Air Peace, she said, commenced operations into the UAE in July, 2019, but in October 2022, the UAE Government announced a total visa ban on Nigerians.

“Neither Emirates nor Air Peace is operating the Nigerian/UAE route since the ban. The persisting non-issuance of visas and the accompanying inconveniences necessitated the suspension of our Dubai operations from November 22, 2022 till date.

“For the former minister to ascribe the suspension to ‘lack of capacity’ is not only shocking but also shows how keen he is to disparage an airline that has defied all the commercial odds and hostile environment placed on its path to continue to serve our nation proudly.

“How could an airline that placed a firm order for 13 brand new E2-195 aircraft, a firm order of 15 Boeing 737 Max 8 & Max 10, with over 30 aircraft already in its existing fleet be accused of lacking in capacity?

“How can an Airline that stood up for the entire nation during the Covid-19 outbreak, and embarked on rescue operations worldwide, evacuating Nigerians from far away China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, UK and South Africa during the Covid-19 lockdowns be accused of lacking capacity?,” Olajide said.

She implored the general public to disregard the comments made by the former minister of Aviation against Air Peace during the Arise TV Interview.

“We take serious exception to a situation where Airpeace is being misrepresented in the public sphere, causing wrong perceptions about our brand,” she added.