Air Peace (P4, Lagos) chief executive Allen Onyema has joined calls in Nigeria’s aviation sector for government support to keep airlines afloat and save jobs, the Nigerian daily Punch reported.

“Palliatives, bailouts, rollouts, intervention funds, or whatever we call them, are necessary. All over the world, the governments are giving bailout funds to their airlines. Even the strongest of airlines have asked for them. What bothers us more at Air Peace is the retention of the workforce,” Onyema told the newspaper on June 29.

“Covid-19 has brought about an immense loss of jobs worldwide. We must begin to think of ways of curbing the losses in Nigeria,” he added, warning that sacking workers could lead to more crime in society.

Onyema also pilloried the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s decision - confirmed on June 29 - to double the Passenger Service Charge travellers have to pay for both domestic and international flights. The fees will rise, effective from August 1, to NGN2,000 naira (USD5.16) for domestic flights and USD100 for international flights.

As previously reported, Onyema told a web conference on May 21 that the airline had been forced to cut its workforce by 60%.

“We are going to downsize because the passengers will no longer be there. We are going to deploy four of our seven B737 aircraft and six of the Embraer fleet.”

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, Air Peace has eight B737-300s, five B737-500s, one B777-200(ER), two B777-300s, one Do328-300, and eight E145s in its fleet.