Attempt To Use Ethiopian Airline To Evacuate Nigerians Stranded In Canada intolerable—Nnaji
…Summons COVID-19 Presidential Task Force, Ministries Of Foreign Affairs, Aviation
The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji has warned that any attempt to use foreign airline to evacuate stranded Nigerians from Canada would not be condoned by the House.
This is just as the Committee has summoned the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and agencies directly or indirectly involved in the Air Peace issue and earlier evacuation flights to appear before the House on June 28.
Nnaji said this while reacting to the persistent refusal of the Canadian authorities to grant Air Peace airline landing rights for the evacuation of stranded Nigerians in Canada.
He said that the position of the House of Representatives was very clear on the issue of evacuation flights.
The lawmaker explained that the House in adopting the motion on the use of foreign airlines for evacuation of stranded Nigerians in other countries on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 had urged the President, Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation, the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission and the Presidential Task Force, (PTF) on COVID-19 as well as all relevant Ministerial Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) to ensure that Nigerian airlines enjoy the right of first refusal in all circumstances, where Nigerians need to be evacuated from other countries.
Nnaji insisted that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and indeed the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force must explore all available diplomatic channels to ensure that a Nigerian airline operate the evacuation flight out of Canada.
Recalled that the Canadian Government was alleged to have given preference to Ethiopian Airline for evacuation of stranded Nigerians desiring to come home as against the Air Peace, which the TaskForce has already engaged for the evacuation.
Air Peace is charging $1,134 per passenger as against the sum of $2,500 charged by Ethiopian Airline.
The Aviation Committee Chairman observed that Canadian authorities had no reason to deny Air Peace landing right since available records had shown that the airline has the required certification and approvals to operate internationally.
He further emphasized that findings have shown that Air Peace is International Air Transport Association’s Safety Oversight Audit, (IOSA) certified, which is a major international parameter for measuring airlines’ safety standards.
The Canadian Government, Nnaji said should Nnaji treat the flight as a special emergency occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic and immediately grant the necessary approvals to Air Peace.
Meanwhile, the Committee has summoned the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Aviation and agencies directly or indirectly involved in the earlier evacuation flights handled by the British Airways, Emirates and Ethiopian Airlines from the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and America to appear before it on Thursday, May 28, 2020.