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Air Peace Chairman Alleges Conspiracy by Foreign Carriers to Push Local Airline Out of Nigeria-UK Route

The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has sounded the alarm over what he describes as a concerted effort by foreign carriers operating the Nigeria-UK route to drive Air Peace out of international operations by engaging in a pricing war.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, Onyema raised concerns about an alleged “unspoken alliance” among foreign airlines to undercut Air Peace’s fares on the Nigeria-London route, potentially jeopardizing the local carrier’s foothold in the international market.
Onyema warned of dire consequences if Air Peace were prematurely forced out of the route, emphasizing the significant economic impact and strain on the Nigerian currency that such a scenario could entail.
“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,” he said.
The aviation industry veteran highlighted Air Peace’s pivotal role in challenging the status quo of exorbitant airfares on the Lagos-London route.
Since commencing direct flight operations from Lagos to Gatwick Airport in London on March 30, 2024, Air Peace has disrupted the market by offering competitive fares, much to the chagrin of established foreign carriers.
The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo; and his counterpart at the Trade and Investment Ministry, Doris Uzoka-Anita; were onboard the inaugural Lagos-London flight alongside businessmen and women.
Acknowledging the commendation from industry observers for Air Peace’s initiative, Onyema lamented the retaliatory measures taken by foreign airlines, including drastic price reductions aimed at undercutting Air Peace’s fares.
The development has been applauded by many industry observers with more local airlines being encouraged to commence international flights to profitable routes.
The price of international flight ticket on the Lagos-London route was as high as N3.5m but with Air Peace pegging a return economy class ticket for N1.2m, foreign airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways have been forced to slash their prices to stay competitive.
Now Air Peace did this (brought down prices) & they crashed their prices from 17m to 5m, the dollar did not change!
They were using the dollar as a reason to do whatever they were doing to us.
Attributing these actions to a broader conspiracy orchestrated by foreign governments to stifle competition, Onyema decried the challenges faced by Air Peace, including operational hurdles and groundhandling issues at Gatwick Airport.
“It’s a very devilish conspiracy,” said a dissatisfied Onyema. “All of a sudden, (foreign) airlines are underpricing, 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 cashcow 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 invite 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 aeropolitics is very dirty but somebody must pay the price,” he said.
Expressing gratitude to President Bola Tinubu and Minister Festus Keyamo for their unwavering support, Onyema reaffirmed Air Peace’s commitment to navigating the complex landscape of international aviation politics while advocating for fair competition and a level playing field for Nigerian carriers.
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