Voice Air Media NEWS UPDATE
The authorities insisted that the airline should return them to Nigeria.
The flight landed at King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after it took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos via the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.
But to the surprise of the airline staff, the Saudi Arabian authorities announced that all the passengers’ visas had been cancelled.
Sources said the passengers went through the Advanced Passengers Information System (APIS) during the check-in formalities in Nigeria which was also monitored by the Saudi authorities.
“The screening of passengers from the MMIA and Kano Airport was thorough and there was no issue with the visas. These were people who were duly issued the visa and they passed through the advanced passenger information system which is accessible to both authorities in Lagos and Jeddah. We are surprised because this cancellation was announced when the flight already landed.
“We are suspecting this is a strategy to frustrate the Nigerian carrier out of the route, some people are definitely not happy with the option Air Peace is providing, the direct flight to Jeddah as against using another foreign airline with higher fares.”
The Saudi authorities later reduced the number of passengers that would be returned to 177 from 264 after the Nigerian embassy waded in.