AIR Peace has stepped up plans to resume operations across Nigeria by flying all of its 25 aircraft to Abuja in readiness for the resumption of flights as soon as the government opens all the country’s airports.
Like most other countries, Nigeria suspended all flights when the coronavirus pandemic broke out, closing all of her airports and suspending all aviation activities. With the gradual easing of the lockdown now taking place, several nations have resumed flights but Nigeria is yet to open up her airspace.
Virgin Atlantic has already announced that it intends resuming operations on its lucrative Lagos to London route on August 24, indicating that Nigeria will open up its airports by then. During the lockdown, Air Peace emerged as the most reliable Nigerian airline in the country, transporting stranded Nigerians back to the country and ferrying supplies around.
This has prompted several commentators to propose that it be made the nation’s national carrier, given that Air Peace is reliable and is run professionally. According to the airline, it moved all of its planes to Abuja to ensure that the aircraft were in good condition having been grounded for close to three months, although they had been under storage maintenance.
Air Peace spokesman Stanley Olisa, said: “All the aircraft took to the skies flying to Abuja, Port Harcourt and back to Lagos without passengers. We have been operating special flights to local and international destinations and we have more of such flights in the works.
“This accentuates our preparedness for operation restart as our pilots, cabin crew and engineers have been hands-on and are current. So, we are 100% ready to resume.”
He added that the aircraft were brought out of storage and pilots had been testing them, as they and flight attendants had been retrained in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) directives. Over recent weeks, the NCAA has been meeting with airline operators in preparation for resumption of domestic flights.
Dana Air spokesman Kingsley Ezenwa, added: “All through the lockdown, we had our engineers on the ground to ensure proper storage and steady maintenance of our fleet for resumption at any time. As part of our post Covid-19 resumptions plans, we had to get our team fully on ground on Wednesday for a dry run at the Murtala Mohammed Airport terminal under the supervision of the NCAA.
“After a successful dry run, we conducted shakedown flights from Lagos to Port Harcourt with our newly acquired Boeing and MD aircraft in our fleet.” He added that the flights were conducted to remove uncertainty from travellers’ minds and encourage them to fly again.