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Airlines Conspiring to Take Air Peace Out of Business- CEO

Air-peace

Allen Onyema, chief executive officer of Air Peace, has claiimed that some airlines are conspiring to take his company out of business by underpricing the flight tickets for the Lagos-London route.

Speaking on the Channels TV evening program, Politics Today, Onyema revealed that the significant reduction in international airfares by foreign carriers operating on the route is a deliberate attempt to prematurely remove Air Peace from the market.

The CEO pointed out that before Air Peace entered into the Nigeria-UK route, foreign airlines were charging exorbitant prices, citing business class tickets costing as much as N17 million and economy class reaching N5 million.

However, shortly after Air Peace began operating on the Lagos-London route, foreign airlines drastically reduced their fares, despite no significant change in the exchange rate between the dollar and the Naira.

Onyema expressed his frustration, stating, “The foreign airlines were taking between N15-N17 million for business class, N6 million for premium economy, and N5 million for economy. Then Air Peace came on, charging N4.5 million for business class, and economy class starting from N1.2 million. Now Air Peace did this, everybody has came crashing their prices from N18 million to N5 million. Dollar did not change.”

He further elaborated that foreign airlines are conspiring to cut their fares to levels below their break-even point, with the aim of pushing Air Peace out of the Nigeria-UK route. Onyema warned that if these tactics succeed, Nigerians would face considerably higher fares than the current rates.

Air Peace launched its Lagos-London route on March 30 to provide quality travel experiences and make international trips more affordable for Nigerians.

Since commencing its UK service, Air Peace has offered competitive rates, with economy class fares starting at N1.2 million, significantly lower than the N3-5 million usually charged by foreign carriers. Business class tickets are priced at around N4.5 million, well below the N15-N18 million rates of foreign airlines.

Onyema also disclosed that since the airline began its direct flights from Lagos to London a few weeks ago, Gatwick Airport has allegedly frustrated its operations, aiming to impede its activities in the UK. He cited challenges with ground handling and space allocation at Gatwick Airport as proof of these retaliatory actions.

On the inaugural flight out of London, Onyema claimed that Gatwick Airport management moved Air Peace to a different checking area and assigned a malfunctioning baggage carousel, leading to delays and inconvenience for passengers.

Additionally, the CEO revealed that the boarding gate in the reassigned terminal collapsed on the day of Air Peace’s flight, further compounding the airline’s challenges at the London airport.

Onyema acknowledged the support received from the Federal Government, particularly from Festus Keyamo, minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, in launching Air Peace’s Lagos-London route successfully.

However, he called on the government to intervene against foreign airlines that are slashing fares below their break-even points, aiming to force Air Peace out prematurely.

He suggested that the government could assist Air Peace by reducing its operational charges, thereby providing the airline with a better opportunity to compete against foreign carriers backed by their governments.

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