By Chinedu Eze
The government of India celebrated the first direct flight from Nigeria when the nation’s major carrier, Air Peace, airlifted 312 if its citizens from the Murtala Muhammd International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to Kochi.
According to the verified twitter account of Indians in Nigeria, @india_nigeria, the “repatriation of India nationals from Nigeria began today (Sunday) with the Lagos-Kochi Air Peace flight with 312 passengers. It is the first ever Nigerian airline to fly directly to India”.
The Indians in Nigeria commended the Nigerian government, the Indian embassy in Nigeria and others that made the flight a reality.
According to information from the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Air Peace flight P47812 pushed back by 1:15 am Nigerian time with 312 passengers and 15 crew members and was airborne by 1:28 am.
Air Peace, in a statement, said the 10-hour non-stop flight from Lagos to Kochi was operated with a B777 aircraft with registration number 5N-BWI. The flight, operated by 15 crew members, was expected to arrive Cochin International Airport in Kerala.
The Chief Operating Officer of the airline, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Olajide, who expressed delight over the evacuation flight, thanked the Indian authorities for engaging Air Peace to operate the flight, while also giving kudos to the Nigerian government for supporting the airline in all its special flights during the lockdown.
She added that the airline alongside other relevant government agencies ensured that all the passengers complied with established health protocols before boarding.
“It can be recalled that on Thursday, May 28, 2020, Air Peace embarked on an evacuation flight of 301 Chinese nationals and flew back 268 stranded Nigerians from China on Saturday,” the statement added.