The cancellation of visas for 264 Air Peace passengers by Saudi authorities at King Abdulaziz International Airport-Hajj Terminal Jeddah has led to calls for the Nigerian government to reciprocate and protect local carriers designated to a route. While investigations are ongoing, the Saudi authorities have not provided reasons for the visa cancellations. Stakeholders argue that affected passengers had similar visas to those used on Saudi carriers in the past, prompting calls for reciprocity and protection of Nigerian carriers, especially as Air Peace competes on the Jeddah route.
- Visa Cancellation Incident:
- Saudi authorities revoked visas for 264 Air Peace passengers at King Abdulaziz International Airport-Hajj Terminal Jeddah. Eighteen passengers were banned due to various past offenses.
- Lack of Reasons from Saudi Authorities:
- The reasons for the cancellation of visas by Saudi authorities have not been provided, sparking concerns and calls for reciprocal action from the Nigerian government.
- Reciprocity and Protection of Nigerian Carriers:
- Stakeholders argue that affected passengers had similar visas to those used on Saudi carriers in the past. Calls are made for reciprocity to protect Nigerian carriers, particularly as Air Peace competes on the Jeddah route.
- Aero Politics and Impact on Saudi Airlines:
- The incident is seen as aero politics, and it reveals the historical competition between Saudi Airlines and other carriers, including Ethiopian Airlines, in the Nigerian market. The first-mover advantage for Air Peace is highlighted as potentially impacting Saudi Airlines.
- Potential Intentions and Resolution:
- There are suggestions that the visa cancellation may be intended to discourage passengers and exporters from using Air Peace. The issue is expected to be resolved diplomatically, but it underscores the internal threats to Nigeria’s growth in international commercial aviation.
- Concerns about National Carrier Support:
- Concerns are raised about the lack of government support for Air Peace as a flag carrier, especially before its international flights. The issue is linked to institutional corruption and concerns about the national carrier establishment.
The visa cancellation incident involving Air Peace passengers has triggered calls for reciprocal action to protect Nigerian carriers. The lack of reasons provided by Saudi authorities has raised concerns, and stakeholders emphasize the need for diplomatic resolution and support for Nigerian carriers, especially as Air Peace competes on international routes. The incident highlights the challenges and internal threats to Nigeria’s growth in international commercial aviation.