Air Peace, the Nigerian airline, has challenged the Saudi Arabian authorities over the cancellation of visas for 264 passengers transported by the airline, citing incorrect information.
Contrary to the claims made by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Air Peace maintained that the visa cancellation was not the fault of the company.
In a statement signed by the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Oluwatoyin Olajide, Air Peace explained that the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided a visa confirmation platform used to verify the passengers’ visas before they were permitted to check in for the 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,” Air Peace stated.
“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.”
Air Peace emphasized that the names of the passengers were sent to Saudi Arabia’s national travel security center before the company’s flight took off from Nigeria.
“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 to further determine the admissibility or otherwise of the passengers,” the airline said.
“No Notice of Cancellation or any form of denial from the Saudi authorities was received against any of these passengers despite the live transmission of their details.
“Furthermore, 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.”
“While we empathize with the affected passengers for this development and assure them of our full compliance with the provisions guiding international travels, we wish to state that up till this moment, the Saudi Arabian authorities have not provided any explanation for the sudden and unexpected cancellation of the visas,” the airline said.