Air Peace Launches Direct Flights to London from Nigeria

Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest airline, has announced that it will commence direct flights to London from Lagos and Abuja, starting from March 2024. The airline will operate three weekly flights to London Heathrow Airport, using its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The airline said that the new service will offer convenience, comfort, and affordability to Nigerian travelers, who currently have to transit through other countries to reach London. The airline also said that the new service will boost trade, tourism, and cultural ties between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Air Peace: A rising star in African aviation

Air Peace was founded in 2013 by Allen Onyema, a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, who wanted to create a world-class airline that would serve the needs of the Nigerian people and the African continent. The airline started operations in 2014, with a fleet of six aircraft and seven domestic destinations. Since then, the airline has grown rapidly, expanding its fleet to 30 aircraft and its network to 25 destinations, including five international routes to Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and the United Arab Emirates.

Air Peace
Air Peace

Air Peace has also distinguished itself as a socially responsible and customer-oriented airline, which has won several awards and accolades for its service quality, safety standards, and corporate social responsibility. The airline has been involved in various humanitarian and peace-building initiatives, such as evacuating Nigerians from South Africa during the xenophobic attacks in 2019, and airlifting stranded Nigerians from the UK, China, India, and other countries during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. The airline has also been praised for its employment and empowerment of women, as it has the highest number of female pilots and engineers among Nigerian airlines.

London: A strategic and lucrative destination

London is one of the most popular and important destinations for Nigerian travelers, as it is the capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom, which has a large and influential Nigerian diaspora community. London is also a global hub for business, trade, education, culture, and tourism, which attracts millions of visitors every year. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, Nigeria was the ninth largest source market for inbound tourism to the UK in 2019, with 221,000 visits and 1.3 billion pounds in spending.

London is also a highly competitive and lucrative destination for airlines, as it is served by six major airports and over 100 airlines from around the world. However, only two African airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways, currently operate direct flights to London from their respective hubs in Addis Ababa and Johannesburg. Air Peace will be the first Nigerian airline and the third African airline to fly directly to London, which will give it an edge over its competitors, who have to rely on codeshare agreements or stopovers to connect their passengers to London.

The challenges and opportunities for Air Peace in London

Air Peace’s direct flights to London will not only offer convenience, comfort, and affordability to Nigerian travelers, but also create new opportunities for trade, tourism, and cultural exchange between Nigeria and the UK. The airline will also benefit from the bilateral air service agreement between the two countries, which allows each country to designate up to four airlines to operate up to 21 weekly flights between them. Air Peace will also leverage its partnership with Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, which will provide onward connections to its passengers from London to other destinations in Europe, Asia, and America.

However, Air Peace will also face several challenges and risks in launching its London service, such as the high operating costs, the stiff competition, and the uncertain demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its variants. The airline will have to ensure that it maintains its service quality, safety standards, and customer satisfaction, while also offering competitive fares and attractive packages to attract and retain customers. The airline will also have to comply with the health and travel regulations of both countries, which may change frequently and unpredictably, depending on the Covid-19 situation.

Air Peace’s direct flights to London are a bold and ambitious move, but also a logical and strategic one, as the airline seeks to expand its international presence and to serve the needs and aspirations of the Nigerian people and the African continent. Air Peace’s London service has the potential to become a game-changer and a success story in the African aviation industry, if the airline can overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

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