The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema has said his airline isn’t interested in being Nigeria’s national carrier but prefers to be a flag carrier for the nation. He said this during a question-and-answer session at the just concluded 48th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA) in Lagos.

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Onyema said making an airline a national carrier was a moribund idea that was no longer sustainable. His words: “We are already a national flag carrier. When you call an airline a national carrier, it connotes government ownership.  You say this carrier is owned by the government of this nation, that it’s a national carrier. But a national flag carrier is the airline that flies the flag of a country. For now, Air Peace is a national flag carrier. MaxAir is a national flag carrier because it flies to Saudi, and Azman flies to Saudi too, it is a national flag carrier. America, with their might in aviation, with their economic might, does not have a national carrier. Delta Airlines, South-West Airlines, and United Airlines are all privately owned airlines, they are not owned by the United States.  So, if anybody is telling you in 2024 that Nigeria deserves a national carrier, no, it is a moribund idea. British Airways is not a national carrier. All those Lufthansa, Air France and so on, they are not.  It used to be in the olden days. I remember one minister was propagating this national carrier of a thing. They gave an example with Namibia. I remember him saying a country as tiny as Namibia has a national carrier. I went on stage and told them to wait and see what would happen to that airline. Thankfully, the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria came on board tonight to say their government could not sustain it. It went moribund.”

Onyema said some countries that float national carriers are countries that do have investors that could go into the airline business.   

“South Africa Airways is bleeding the treasury of that country. They are looking for ways of stopping it, but it is too late. So, Air Peace does not want to be a national carrier, what we are advocating is a level playing field for all Nigerians airlines to do very well.”