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Air Peace CEO, Onyema, Sounds Alarm Over Plot By Foreign Airlines to Oust Nigerian Carrier from UK Route

Air Peace CEO Onyema warns of a foreign airline plot to remove the Nigerian carrier from the UK route, citing pricing tactics and alleged conspiracy.

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Air Peace CEO Onyema warns of a foreign airline plot to remove the Nigerian carrier from the UK route, citing pricing tactics and alleged conspiracy.

He urges solidarity among Nigerian airlines to counter the challenge.

In a recent revelation, Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Nigerian indigenous carrier Air Peace, has sounded the alarm regarding what he perceives as a concerted effort by foreign carriers operating on the Nigeria-UK route to drive Air Peace out of international operations.

VerseNews reports that on Channels Television’s Politics Today program, Onyema expressed his concerns, suggesting an “unspoken alliance” among foreign airlines to utilize lower pricing strategies aimed at eliminating Air Peace from the Nigeria-London route.

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The Alleged Conspiracy by Foreign Airline

Onyema conveyed his dismay, highlighting the potential repercussions if Air Peace were prematurely ousted from the 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,” he said.

He warned of significant economic losses for the country, emphasizing the adverse impact on the Nigerian currency, the naira. Alleging a deliberate effort to undercut Air Peace, he described the situation as a “devilish conspiracy,” pointing to recent pricing tactics employed by foreign carriers, which he deemed unsustainable and below cost.

Air Peace’s Response

Air Peace had previously initiated direct flight operations from Lagos to Gatwick Airport in London on March 30, 2024, in response to what it perceived as a lopsided Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

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This move was seen as a step towards challenging the dominance of foreign carriers on the route, with Air Peace offering competitive pricing, significantly lower than its competitors.

Industry Response and Challenges

The development was welcomed by industry observers, who saw it as an opportunity for more local airlines to enter profitable international routes. However, Onyema pointed out challenges faced by Air Peace, including difficulties in ground handling and space allocation at Gatwick Airport, which he attributed to the alleged conspiracy by foreign carriers.

Call for Nigerian Airlines to Unite

Onyema urged other Nigerian airlines to join the Nigeria-UK route to break the monopoly enjoyed by foreign carriers, particularly into major gateway airports. He emphasized the importance of solidarity among Nigerian airlines in the face of what he described as the “dirty” world of international aeropolitics.

Appreciation and Support

Despite the challenges, Onyema expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu and Minister Festus Keyamo for their support of Air Peace amid the complexities of operating the Lagos-London route. He highlighted their solidarity as the airline navigates through the political landscape of international aviation.

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Onyema’s remarks shed light on the competitive dynamics and challenges faced by Nigerian airlines, particularly in international operations, and underscore the importance of unity and support within the industry to counter external pressures.

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