Nigerian airline, Air Peace, has faced a setback in its operations to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as 264 of its passengers were refused entry by the Saudi authorities on Monday. The passengers, who had valid visas and clearance from the Advanced Passenger Prescreening System, were ordered to return to Nigeria immediately after landing in Jeddah.
The airline, which had launched direct flights from Lagos and Kano to Jeddah in September, had to repatriate 177 of the affected passengers, while the remaining 87 were allowed to stay after the intervention of the Nigerian embassy. The reason for the visa revocation was not disclosed by the Saudi officials, but some industry sources speculated that it was a deliberate attempt to frustrate Air Peace out of the route.
The passengers had undergone thorough screening at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, and there was no issue with their visas. The source also claimed that some people were unhappy with the option Air Peace was providing, as it offered a cheaper and more convenient alternative to other foreign airlines.