• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Nigerians now fly from US to UK to book Air Peace to Lagos – COO

Air Peace commences transit flights via Lagos Airport

Toyin Olajide, chief operating officer of Air Peace has said that Nigerians fly from the US to the UK and book Air Peace to Lagos, thus taking advantage of the cheap US-Europe flights and then fly the Nigerian carrier to Lagos, which is also affordable.

Olajide said doing so, they save a lot of money, which they would have spent on direct US-Nigeria flights, adding that  Chinese citizens in Nigeria and Nigerians also fly Air Peace to London and fly China Southern Airline to China and cut down the fares, which they would have spent on Nigeria to China flights through Middle East or other hubs.

“We recently upgraded two passengers who flew from US to London and used our flight to Lagos. We upgraded them from economy class to business class in appreciation of their commitment and desire to patronize us. But they also take advantage of the cheap flights between Europe and the US and our flights are also affordable; so, this enables them to save a lot of money,” she said.

The COO also revealed that Air Peace has become the choice airline for Nigerians who bring their aged parents to the UK and the US, disclosing that on every flight to London, Air Peace may have 30 to 40 wheelchair passengers because it has become a preferred airline for Nigerians to bring their parents to the UK and also take them home back to Nigeria.

“Because our cabin crew have imbibed the African ways of attending to the aged, many Nigerians prefer to use Air Peace to fly their aged parents. We care for them as we care for our own parents. Cabin crew pay extra attention to them and ensure they are happy. We take extra care to serve them. In fact, some Nigerians send their parents unaccompanied through our airline,” the COO said.

Many Nigerians have in recent times commended Air Peace, for its decision to start flight service to London three months ago.

Many Nigerians who have travelled with the airline to London or utilized the service for their loved ones have gone to social media to commend the airline for providing choices to the citizens, eroding the hitherto outrageous airfares to the route and disrupting the duopoly of direct flight between Lagos and London.

One of those Nigerians, a lady in her social media post, narrated how she returned to Nigeria with Air Peace from London and later decided to take her aged parents to London with the airline and expressed satisfaction with the in-flight service and on-time departure.

The COO said that despite the challenges, Air Peace has given Nigerians a good choice and assured them that the airline would continue to provide efficient and dependable service on the Lagos-London route.

The Chief Operating Officer also disclosed that Air Peace Lagos-London flight economy class has been fully booked for the next 60 days and on the flight it operated on Sunday (June 30, 2024), the economy seats were fully booked and out of the 42 seats in the business class, 41 seats were occupied.

“But our system did not advertise our first class seats, an error, which has been corrected. So, what it means is that we recorded a very high load factor, only 12 seats in the first class and one business class seat; that is, 13 seats were empty out of the 274 seats capacity aircraft. We thank Nigerians. We appreciate the fact that they are happy with the airline,” Olajide said.

Other Nigerians have given their testimony and also commended the Air Peace Lagos-London route.

Shalom Asuquo, the Founder and Managing Director of Travel Lab Nigeria Limited,  said that over the past three months, Air Peace has made a remarkable impact on the Lagos to London route, contributing to the airlifting of Nigerians and expanding the market.

“On March 30, 2024, Air Peace commenced operations with a Boeing 777-200ER, and since then, they have partnered with Norse Atlantic Airways to maintain daily flights on this route, using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. The inaugural flight was a beautiful and nostalgic event, symbolizing a significant step forward for Nigerian aviation.

“The entrance of Air Peace into this market has not only increased accessibility but also diversified the passenger base. Remarkably, the airline has attracted elderly passengers who previously couldn’t afford high ticket prices post-pandemic, as well as students returning home for family events and reunions. This influx has resulted in a five to fifteen per cent increase in passengers.

“Air Peace’s operations have also played a crucial role in positively positioning Nigerian brands. Products like Farm Fresh yoghurt, Gratia chin flakes, Olu Olu chips, and local long-grain Nigerian rice have gained exposure and expanded their reach. This ripple effect has benefited small businesses and local farmers who supply produce like tomatoes, peppers, and spinach; contributing to an economic expansion of over NGN 2 billion,” Asuquo disclosed.

She also revealed that travel agencies have benefited from Air Peace’s generous commission structure, offering a nine per cent commission and other incentives, at a time when many airlines have reduced or eliminated commissions, adding that this initiative, supported by the current National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) president, aims to regularize industry practices and support travel agencies.

“Despite the challenges on the route, Air Peace has continued to maintain high safety standards. Fostering strong relationships with regulatory bodies will be essential for sustaining and expanding its service on this route. Air Peace’s entry into the London route represents a significant development for Nigerian aviation, offering better service, more competitive pricing, and substantial economic benefits to the country. For us in the downstream aviation sector, Air Peace is a beacon of growth and progress. We hope they keep soaring to new heights, and we are on standby to support them all the way,” Asuquo said.

Also, Bede Eziefule, the Programme Director, of the Centre for the Right to Health, Nigeria, said that Air Peace has brought succour to Nigerians by taming the high fares from Lagos to London on other airlines.

“Before Air Peace joined the Lagos-London route, airfares were too high, but now the fares are relatively down. We are clamouring for dollars but the foreign airlines repatriate the foreign exchange after charging us outrageous fares. Now, Air Peace is helping us because we pay their low fares in Naira and by doing that they reduce the pressure on the Nigerian currency. You can now eat local delicacies on international flights to Europe, a rarity in the past.

“The success recorded by Air Peace so far will encourage other Nigerian airlines to join international service; this will help us bring the fares down and also improve the service offered to Nigerians because this will sharpen competition and will discourage any gang-up by foreign airlines to rip us off,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, Aloysius Nnanna

Nworisa, the Deputy Zonal Commander, Advocacy and Sensitization, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said that  Air Peace has helped Nigeria travel to the UK with cheaper fares and has made it possible for middle-income earners to travel; unlike when no Nigerian carrier is flying to Europe and the fares were hitting the rooftops.

“It has also helped Nigerians in terms of competition because ticket prices started coming down when Air Peace started the London operation. What this means is that Nigerians will spend less on flight tickets if more Nigerian carriers are enabled to fly international routes. The Nigerian government should continue to support Air Peace and other Nigerian airlines, especially now that it has become intentional about protecting Nigerian carriers against other predatory businesses, including foreign airlines,” Nworisa said.

As Eziefule noted, Air Peace has made it possible for some Nigerians to come to live and work in London; it has created more jobs and if the government continues to support the airline, it will continue to soar.