As More Nigerians Commend Air Peace

Chinedu Eze

More Nigerians have continued to pour out commendations on Air Peace for its decision to start flight service to London, a decision they said, was well calculated and it’s yielding results.

The fresh commendations are coming three months after Air Peace had its first successful flight from Nigeria to London.

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

One of those Nigerians who went to the social media to commend Air Peace, is a lady, who 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.

THISDAY spoke to the Chief Operating Officer of Air Peace, Mrs. Toyin Olajide, who said that despite the challenges, Air Peace has given Nigerians a good alternative choice and assured 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 in the next 60 days and in 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 very high load factor, as only the 12 seats in the first class and one business class seat; making it 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.

She also disclosed that Nigerians fly from the US to UK and book Air Peace to Lagos, thus taking advantage of the cheap US-Europe cheap flights and then fly the Nigerian carrier to Lagos, which is also affordable.

By so doing, they save a lot of money, which they would have spent on direct US-Nigeria flight. 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 in 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. Members of our 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.

Other Nigerians have given their testimonies and also commended Air Peace Lagos-London route. The Founder and Managing Director of Travel Lab Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Shalom Asuquo, told THISDAY 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 5 per cent to 15 per cent increase in passengers.

“Air Peace’s operations have also played a crucial role in positively positioning Nigerian brands. Products like Farm Fresh yogurt, Gratia chin 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 N 2 billion,” Asuquo disclosed.

She also revealed that travel agencies have benefited from Air Peace’s generous commission structure, offering a 9% 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.

Also, the Programme Director, Centre for the Right to Health, Nigeria, Bede Eziefule, told THISDAY 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 dollar 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 in international flight 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, the Deputy Zonal Commander, Advocacy and Sensitisation, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Dr Aloysius Nnanna Nworisa, told THISDAY 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.

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