Sirika lied about us -Air Peace’s response

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The management of Air Peace has implored the general public to disregard claims made against the Airline by the immediate-past Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in his interview on Arise TV.

Speaking on Sunday, during an Interview on Arise News, Sirika, while praising Ethiopian Airline, said 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 was ready to fly.

The former minister also claimed that Air Peace stopped flying to Dubai because it lacks capacity.

However, in a swift response, Air Peace, in a statement by its Chief Operating Officer, Toyin Olajide, described Sirika’s claim as a blatant, stark lie.

Olajide said Air Peace never stopped the Dubai operations because of lack of capacity.

“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.”

She explained that Air Peace commenced operations into the UAE in July 2019, but in October 2022, the UAE Government announced a total visa ban on Nigerians.

The statement reads: “We watched with dismay the interview granted by former Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, to Arise TV on Sunday, June 11, 2023, where he made spurious claims about Air Peace, Nigeria’s foremost airline.

“Air Peace deems it absolutely necessary to debunk these false assertions.

“Firstly, Sirika, in his bid to denigrate Air Peace while praising Ethiopian Airline, stated that we 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 we were ready to fly. He went on to ask, “Who does that?”. He stated that Ethiopian Airlines would never do 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.

“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 whose 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 Arise TV Interview.

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

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