After initially denying Air Peace the rights to land at the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, the South African government has finally given the airline permit to evacuate the second batch of Nigerians.
Nigeria’s Consul-General in Johannesburg, Godwin Adama, confirmed to News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday that South African authorities have granted landing permit to Air Peace Flight B777 to enable it to evacuate more Nigerians willing to return home.
Earlier in the day, the management of the airline raised the alarm over the refusal of the South African authority to grant it landing permit which once again led to the disruption of the evacuation of 320 Nigerians as a result of the xenophobic crisis there.
However, our correspondent can confirm the flight will take off for Johannesburg at 11.30pm, September 17 and be back in Lagos before 7am on Wednesday, September 18.
The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said the initial efforts by the airline to get a permit from the South African authority failed and it could not take off at 1am September 17 as planned.
He said: “We did not take off at 1am as scheduled because the South African authorities were yet to give us landing permit at that time. Our crew waited till 3:00 am but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel.”
On Monday, September 16, Onyema said that the flight to evacuate the second batch of returnees would leave Nigeria after mid night on Tuesday and arrive OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa in the morning but would depart South Africa mid day and is expected to arrive in Lagos by 7:00 pm today.
He also disclosed that out of over 600 Nigerians that were willing to return, 360 of them had been cleared for the evacuation but the airline would airlift 320 in the second batch, which is the capacity of the aircraft, Boeing 777 that would be deployed for the flight.