Market News

High expectations as Air Peace begins Lagos-London operations today - THE GUARDIAN

APRIL 03, 2024

About seven years of waiting is finally over. An indigenous carrier, Air Peace Airline, will today resume the Lagos-London operations, restoring national pride and competition on the busy route.

The pre-departure arrangements for the maiden flight, The Guardian learnt, will commence tonight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for the departure scheduled for 12:10 a.m. on Saturday, March 30, 2024.

Spokesperson of the airline, Stanley Olisa, yesterday confirmed that all was set for the inaugural flight, with all seats on the Boeing 777 aircraft fully booked.

Air Peace, the largest domestic carrier by fleet capacity, is making its maiden entry after the exit of the likes of Bellview, Arik Air and Med-View Airlines from the route.

It will be recalled that Med-View Airlines was the last Nigerian carrier to operate on the Lagos-London route, following the exit of Bellview and Arik Air. The European Union (EU), in 2017, restricted Med-View flight operations to the regions over alleged safety concerns and a certification audit that was allegedly not updated. The sanction was partly due to the airline’s delay in having its Boeing767 aircraft audited for international operations, in line with the EU airspace rules.

Air Peace has earlier announced competitive fares on the London route. The fares amount to over 60 per cent slash of the tickets currently offered by the likes of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

With the preliminaries now over, stakeholders are excited about the fare competition on one of the busiest routes for Nigerian travellers.

Currently, a British Airways Economy class return ticket from Lagos to London costs $2,698 which amounts to about N4.7 million (at N1778/1$ International Air Transport Association (IATA) rate on the airline ticketing platform). British Airways Business class costs $8,598, which amounts to about N15.2 million.

Its main rival, Virgin Atlantic, Economy Classic costs $1,745 which amounts to N3.1 million, Economy Delight costs $1,797, which amounts to almost N3.2 million, Economy Premium costs $3,442 or N6.1 million.

However, according to Air Peace, a Return Economy Class Ticket will go for N1.2 million while a Return Business Class Ticket sells for N4 million.

The airline added that Nigerians studying in the UK can now access their special 15 per cent rebate on the already reduced Economy fares.

Travel consultant, Sunday Olumegbon, said the launch and return of indigenous airlines to “cut-throat” international routes is the exact response the Nigerian economy needs at this difficult time.

He said: “I am super excited, and I’ve already booked a seat. As I have been telling my customers, this deal is the best news for the local economy in recent times. We as Nigerians are now being proactive in changing the narratives about our economy and our image. All Nigerians will be a beneficiary, including the airline itself. Congratulations to the Air Peace and the Ministry of Aviation. It must not stop with London. Let’s go to other routes because it is our right,” Olumegbon said.

Another industry expert, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), said the competition has started and it is commendable.

“I hope the foreign airlines and their multiple frequencies and destinations in our country can gradually get reduced.

“This is the beginning of the competition for scrapping the exploitation of the foreign airlines on the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) routes. We hope those in the administration of our government and the management of the agencies will give the necessary support to Air Peace,” Ojikutu said.


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