Air Peace management has faulted former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika’s claims on its asset following an interview the latter granted to Arise TV on Sunday.
Sirika had stated that the airline leased two of its Boeing 777 aircraft on a monthly lease fee of $250,000.
The former minister also stated that the aircraft were parked for several months and incurred losses of $19 million while all the aircraft engines and landing gears became due for replacement when we were ready to fly.
He further questioned the idea, insisting Ethiopian Airlines would never do that.
However, in a swift reaction, the airline Chief Operating Officer, Toyin Olajide, stated that Sirika’s assertions were blatant lie, stressing that they 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.
“Secondly, Sirika said the airline stopped flying to Dubai because ‘we lack capacity’. This is another stark lie.
“Air Peace never stopped the Dubai operations because of lack of capacity. Air Peace 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 which ascendancy, 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?
“We implore the general public to disregard these lies told by the former minister of Aviation against Air Peace during the interview.
“We take serious exception to a situation where Airpeace is being misrepresented in the public sphere, causing wrong perceptions about our brand.”