Despite apologies rendered to Nigeria by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South African over the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians, his administration has denied Air Peace landing permit at the OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.
The refusal of the South African authority to grant the airline landing permit has once again led to the disruption in the evacuation of 320 Nigerians expected to be evacuated following the xenophobic crisis there.
The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, confirmed this development, saying that efforts by the airline to get a permit from the South African authority failed.
He said the airline could not take off at 1am today as planned because of the refusal of the landing permit.
At the time of filing this report, it was not certain when the permit would be granted.
He said: “We did not take off by 1am as scheduled because South African authorities are yet to give us landing permit. We are hopeful that they will give us the permit.
”Our crew waited till 3:00 am but when the permit did not come, they went back to the hotel. Once we get the permit we will set off to South Africa. We don’t want to speculate but we are hopeful they will give the permit.”
On Monday, Onyema said that the flight to evacuate the second batch of returnees would leave Nigeria after mid night on Tuesday and arrive OR Tambo International Airport, South Africa in the morning but would depart South Africa mid day and is expected to arrive Lagos by 7:00 pm today.
He also disclosed that out of over 600 Nigerians that are willing to return, 360 of them have been cleared for the evacuation but the airline would airlift 320 in the second batch, which is the capacity of the aircraft, Boeing 777 that would be deployed for the flight.