By Louis Ibah
Air Peace Airlines yesterday was awarded the International Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The IOSA certification implies that Air Peace’s safety and security processes and facilities now align with international standards and are comparable to those found in any of the world’s renowned airlines, which also allows it interline with foreign airlines on international flights into Europe and American airports.
Speaking at the presentation of the certificate at the Air Peace headquarters in Lagos, IATA Manager for West Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun, urged the management of the airline to harness the opportunities that come with the IOSA certification in its business pursuits, noting that the certificate is valid for just two years before another audit is done.
For his part, Managing Director/CEO of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Oyema, told journalists that the airline has just concluded plans to commence flight operations to China; Atlanta, United States of America; London, United Kingdom; Johannesburg, South Africa; Dubai, UAE, and Mumbai, India.
He, however, decried the inability of Nigerian carriers to reciprocate its Bilateral Air Service Agreements (BASA) with foreign countries, adding that local carriers are operating under very harsh conditions that make it difficult to compete with their peers. According to him, local banks are currently giving out loans to airlines at between 26 and 28 per cent as against the 2-4 per cent borrowing rate of competing foreign carriers.
Onyema also said the government of Togo had apologised to Air Peace for restraining it from flying into Lome to reciprocate the BASA Nigeria has with Togo. He, however, said that the airline may be forced to sue the Cote d’Ivoire government by May 22, 2017, if it fails to grant it the approval to operate into Abidjan having met all the conditions spelt out for it by its Ivorien CAA.
“I will go ahead with the threat to sue Cote d’Ivoire government if they don’t give us the approval to fly into their country by May 22, 2017,” said Onyema.
The airline received the IOSA certificate barely two and half years of commencement of flight operations.
Onyema said that with the certificate, Air Peace would continually improve in its safety operations, adding that without strict adherence to safety, the airline would not have received the certificate in record time.