Nigeria: Onyeama - Why Canada Denied Landing Rights to Air Peace

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria in 2019.
15 May 2020

Geoffrey Onyeama, minister of foreign affairs, has explained the reason the plan to evacuate Nigerians from Canada has been delayed.

An Air Peace flight was scheduled to evacuate 200 Nigerians from Canada on Thursday, but in a statement on Wednesday, the airline said the the flight had been cancelled.

"The management of Air Peace wishes to announce that its evacuation flight to Canada previously scheduled for May 14, 2020, has been postponed due to logistics issues as communicated to the airline by the Nigerian High Commission in Canada," the statement by Air Peace read.

"Once the issues are resolved with the Canadian authorities and a new date is issued by the High Commission, we shall duly communicate same to the public."

Clarifying the postponement of the flight on Thursday, Onyeama, said the airline was denied landing rights by the Canadian authorities.

"This is the case indeed that the Canadian government denied landing rights on the grounds that this particular Nigerian carrier did not have licence to undertake commercial flights to that country and was not known to that country for commercial flights," he said.

"Our high commissioner in Canada is engaging with the Canadian government on this issue and we're hopeful that we can have the decision reversed.

"The argument that he's putting forward, which is a strong argument, is that this is not a regular commercial flight to Canada to take passengers, but that this is an emergency flight and that there is a difference between the two. So, the negotiations are ongoing and we are hopeful that there will be a positive result."

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