Air Peace Onyeama alleges an “unspoken alliance” among foreign airlines to discourage Nigerian airlines


By Abiodun OBA


The Chairman of Nigerian indigenous carrier Air Peace, Allen Onyema has alleged that the existence of an “unspoken alliance” among foreign airlines to frustrate the carrier out of international operations.

During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today program, Allen Onyema claimed that these carriers are deliberately undercutting airfares on the Nigeria-UK route.

“If they take out Air Peace prematurely, this country will pay dearly for it, 10 times over, billions will be lost, there will be another heavy strain on the naira. We are being deliberately frustrated in all ways,” he said, citing ground handling and space allocation difficulties at Gatwick Airport in the last couple of days.

“It’s a very devilish conspiracy. All of a sudden, (foreign) airlines are under-pricing, below the cost, it’s not up to one month, an airline was advertising $100, another one $305, $350. Fill up the entire aircraft and carry people on the wings, it’s not even enough to buy your fuel. So, why are they doing that? Their governments are supporting them because Nigeria has been a cash cow for everybody.

“Their governments are supporting them to do this and take Air Peace out. The idea is to take Air Peace out and the moment they succeed in taking Air Peace out, Nigerians will pay 20 times over again.”

The airline boss invites other Nigerian airlines to join the Nigeria-UK route to break the monopoly hitherto enjoyed by foreign carriers operating into the four major gateway airports of Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt.

“I invite other Nigerian airlines to join the fray, let them come, let all of us do international operations. Yes, international aero politics is very dirty but somebody must pay the price,” he said.

Onyema expressed appreciation to President Bola Tinubu and Minister Keyamo for being “solidly behind” Air Peace even as the airline navigates the politics side of operating to London.

Recall on March 30, 2024, Air Peace commenced direct flight operations from Lagos to Gatwick Airport in London.

The development has been applauded by many industry observers applauded who viewed it as a positive step forward.

Encouraged by Air Peace’s initiative, there is a growing support for other local airlines to consider launching international flights to lucrative routes, thus expanding opportunities and competition in the aviation sector.

Before then, the price of international flight tickets on the Lagos-London route had soared to as much as N3.5 million. However, following Air Peace’s introduction of a return economy class ticket priced at N1.2 million, foreign carriers like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways found themselves compelled to significantly reduce their fares in order to remain competitive in the market.

© 2024, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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