Saudi Arabian authorities have revoked the visas of all 264 passengers transported by Air Peace from Kano to Jeddah on Monday. The airline, which departed from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos via the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, faced the unexpected measure upon the flight’s arrival in Saudi Arabia.
The rationale behind the visa cancellations remains unclear at this time. John Ojikutu, CEO of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, Nigeria, and an industry expert, expressed astonishment at the Saudi authorities’ actions. Ojikutu emphasized the importance of aero politics and diplomacy, urging the Nigerian government to firmly support national carriers and designate them as flag carriers to assert Nigeria’s representation.
The Nigerian Embassy intervened in the matter, leading to a reduction in the number of passengers slated for return from 264 to 177. While Saudi Air has traditionally operated direct flights from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia, the introduction of Air Peace’s services at more competitive fares has garnered significant passenger interest. The situation highlights the complexities of international aviation dynamics and the need for diplomatic intervention to address such issues.