Air Peace Faults Saudi Arabia’s Explanation for Deportation of Nigerian Passengers

Air Peace has disputed the Saudi Arabian government’s explanation for the deportation of 264 Nigerians upon arrival in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi authorities have claimed that the affected individuals provided incorrect information to obtain visas that did not apply to them.

The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Abuja would like to make a clarification about the media reports and social media releases concerning the deportation of Nigerian citizens at the point of entry into the Kingdom.

“The passengers whom were denied entry, and subsequently deported to their initial destinations, didn’t fulfill the entry conditions and requirements in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the Kingdom, as they submitted incorrect information to obtain a category of visa that doesn’t apply to them, which was discovered upon their arrival,” the Saudi Arabian Embassy said.

However, Air Peace’s Chief Operating Officer, Toyin Olajide, maintains that the airline followed all proper procedures and that the visas of all passengers were verified and confirmed as valid before departure. He further stated that the Saudi authorities did not provide any explanation for the cancellation of the visas.

He said, “For the avoidance of doubt, Air Peace is a scheduled operator between Nigeria and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and the said flight was indeed a scheduled flight and not a chartered/Umrah/Hajj or any special flight. The visas of all passengers on the said flight to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia were checked and verified through the requisite procedures and were vetted to be valid before departure. The visas were verified using the visa confirmation platform provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia which confirmed the validity of each passenger visa before passengers were allowed to check-in for the flight.

“All the visas of the 264 passengers were duly verified, confirmed, and accepted as authentic for the trip through the visa portal provided by the Saudi Arabia authorities, if not, no passengers would have been able to depart from Nigeria. This is just one of two steps required before a passenger is accepted on the flight to Saudi Arabia. The next step is the use of the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS). We equally used this system to determine the admissibility or otherwise of each passenger on that flight. The APIS was live between Air Peace’s reservation system and the Saudi Arabia National Travel Security Center carrier portal to transmit passenger details prior to departure, to the Saudi authorities in order to further determine the admissibility or otherwise of the passengers.

“The passenger manifest containing the names of all passengers on board the flight was sent ahead to the Saudi Arabia National Travel Security Center carrier portal before the flight departure, yet no Notice of Visa Cancellation was received against any of these passengers.

“We would like to reiterate that Air Peace strictly followed the profiling procedures stipulated by the Saudi Arabian authorities and we are still shocked that upon arrival in Jeddah, the visas of our passengers were cancelled without any cogent explanation even till now.”

Air Peace, the Nigerian airline that transported the passengers to Saudi Arabia, recently launched a direct flight to Jeddah and has recorded high demand.


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