As Air Peace Keeps Nigeria on International Routes

As Air Peace Keeps Nigeria on International Routes

Chinedu Eze

There will be many benefits if Nigerian airlines are enabled to operate international routes. They will be able to earn foreign exchange; they will provide competition on Nigerian routes, which will bring down cost of airfares for the traveler, and they will create more jobs and also help in manpower development.

Industry observers have said that if Nigerian carriers were encouraged by government policies and protected the way other countries protect their own, no country in West and Central Africa would have more developed airport facilities than Nigeria because more passengers would pass through Nigeria to other West Coast destinations.

Despite the challenges, Nigeria’s foremost carrier, Air Peace has been able to operate international destinations. Of course, few years after it started flight service in 2014, it started operating to some countries in West Africa and has sustained the service and later it started Dubai, South Africa, India, China and Israel. Currently, the airline operates to Mumbai, Israel, South Africa and to many countries in West and Central Africa.

In March this year, Air Peace launched non-stop flight service to Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra State in Southwestern India.

It started with two weekly flight frequencies to Mumbai and intended to operate to Delhi as soon as the Mumbai service garnered significant momentum and the airlines got the necessary approvals from Indian authorities.

The nonstop Mumbai service is a respite to Nigerians and Indians who have to travel for so many hours to India with stopovers via other countries. There are a lot of Indians in Nigeria who would prefer to fly directly to India from Nigeria.

The Chief Operating Officer, Air Peace, Oluwatoyin Olajide, said: “The Mumbai route is our fourth international destination and is strongly indicative of our unwavering commitment to continually expand our route network to meet the evolving travel needs of not only the Nigerian market but also the West African sub-region.

“On May 31, 2020, Air Peace became the first ever Nigerian airline to operate the first direct flight from Nigeria to Kochi, India, airlifting 312 Indian citizens. In the same year and early 2021, we operated more than six evacuation flights afterwards, showing our strength and familiarisation with the Indian airspace.

“Our Mumbai service is direct- meaning no stopovers. So, you’re saving time, money and avoiding stopover stress. Also, we’re offering a launch fare of 450,000 naira. That’s unbeatable, especially considering that we’re deploying our comfy Boeing 777 aircraft, offering passengers best-in-class hospitality.”

According to her, the airline is strengthening its presence on the Asian continent with the launch of Mumbai service, adding that it is not just a big stride for the airline; but also, a huge feat for Nigeria in the implementation of its Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) with India, and deepening socio-economic ties between both countries.

Shortly after, Air Peace started direct, non-stop flight to Israel. The airline commenced scheduled operations into Tel Aviv on April 20, 2023, from Lagos and Abuja.

At the well-attended inaugural flight ceremony held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema, said history had been made in the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Israel through the commencement of direct, nonstop flights from Lagos and Abuja to the city of Tel Aviv.

“This is undoubtedly a big milestone as, for the first time, a Nigerian airline is connecting both countries directly through scheduled commercial flights,” he had said.

Onyema said the airline was delighted particularly because the new route would provide huge respite to Nigerian travellers who, henceforth, do not have to travel to Israel through other countries, spending over 20 hours in stopovers whereas a direct flight is less than six hours.

“Our entry into Israel today will open up more layers of opportunities and possibilities socially, and economically, and advance the implementation of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Nigeria and Israel. The connectivity will boost ‘religious tourism’, especially factoring the numerous Nigerians who embark on pilgrimage trips to Israel”, the Air Peace Chairman stated.

In order to enhance connectivity in West Africa, Nigeria’s biggest carrier would today commence flights to Lome, Togo. The airline said the Lagos-Lome-Lagos route would be operated with the 50-seater Embraer 145 jets.

“We are expanding our West African presence to strategically connect key cities in the sub-region, ease connectivity for Africans and strengthen commercial ties between countries.

“Air Peace is committed to easing the air transportation burden of Africans, and this will continue to drive our route expansion as well as fleet modernisation. We also recently received two Boeing 737-700 aircraft to further strengthen our domestic and regional operations,” the airline said.

In addition to the flight to these international destinations, Air Peace is operating special flight to Antigua. Antigua and Barbuda is a sovereign island country in the West Indies. It lies at the conjuncture of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean in the Leeward Islands part of the Lesser Antilles.

The majority of the country’s population is of African descent. There are also small groups of Europeans, particularly Irish, British and Portuguese. Tourism is the major economic activity in the island nation.

Air Peace disclosed that it is offering the best flight deals for customers who plan to travel for the Antigua Carnival from August 5-9, 2023, plus bespoke hotel packages from Tour Brokers International.

The strides of Air Peace should encourage the federal government to show more support to Nigerian carriers by using diplomatic channels and BASA to pave ways for them to operate to more international destinations. There are many cities in the United States that yearn for direct flights to Nigeria and other countries in West Africa. Although two US airlines operate to Nigeria but the market is still open to more direct flights. It is the same with flights to London, UK; a country that is Nigeria’s second home.

Related Articles