Saudi Arabia cancels visas of 264 Nigerian passengers on arrival in Jeddah


Saudi Arabia has cancelled the visas of all the 264 passengers airlifted by Air Peace to Jeddah from Kano on Monday and insisted that the airline should return them to Nigeria.

It was gathered that the flight took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, via the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, on Sunday night and arrived in Saudi Arabia’s major city on Monday without issues.

But on landing, the Saudi Arabia authorities announced that all the passengers’ visas were cancelled.

John Ojikutu, industry expert and the CEO of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, Nigeria, confirmed the development.

“The action of the Saudi Authorities is shocking. There is aero politics there, and there is also diplomacy. There is a need for the Nigerian government to stand firmly with Nigerian carriers and designate them as flag carriers so that other countries will know that they represent Nigeria.

“Government must come out and intervene”, he said.

Another source who preferred anonymity said that all the passengers and the airline personnel were shocked at the cancellation of the visas because, during check-in, the passengers went through the Advanced Passengers Prescreening System (APPS), which was also monitored by the Saudi Arabia authorities before the flight left Nigeria.

Meanwhile, when the Nigerian Embassy waded in, Saudi authorities were said to have reduced the number of passengers that would be returned to 177 from 264.

Saudi Air has been operating directly from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia. Since Air Peace started flight service to the Middle Eastern nation at relatively lower fares, it has been receiving high patronage. As a Nigerian carrier, it helps to conserve foreign exchange for the country

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