Lagos-London flight: ‘UK airport charged Air Peace £3m ‘life-long’ deposit’

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace Airlines, Allen Onyema, revealed that the airline is not running at a loss, despite slashing the business class ticket to N4 million, as the airline recently embarked on its inaugural flight to London.

This disclosure was made by Onyema during a live appearance on Arise TV.

He said that an airline embarking on a new route, like that of Airpeace’s inaugural Lagos to London flight, would usually fly back with less than 10 per cent of its capacity to its destination.

However, the AirPeace Boss revealed, that was not the case, noting the return flight was already sold out, over a month before the commencement of the Lagos to London flight.

He stated, “Normally when you start a new destination or inaugural flight, you might have a lot of people coming in, but when coming back, you might come back empty, or fly less than 10 per cent of the capacity of the aircraft.

“But that was not the case here, our return flights were already sold out over a month before, in fact sometimes we blocked sales.”

He added that Nigerians were happy, emphasising it is obvious some kind of burden was lifted from their shoulders, with the unveiling of an indigenous airline.

Furthermore, he pointed out that, if Airpeace had sold the tickets for N10 million, people would still have applauded but out of patriotism, the airline slashed the fare to N4 million for a business class ticket; disrupting the market and yet breaking even.

Meanwhile, the Air Peace Boss also disclosed that the past 48 hours have been very challenging, noting that the Gatwick Airport authority has made it difficult for the airline to thrive in the UK.

He highlighted an instance of how airpeace was told to pay a life-long security deposit of about 3 million pounds.

He said, “The past 48 hours have not been easy, first of all, you are told by Gatwick Airport to deposit about 3 million pounds before you start operation. For goodness sake, is British Airways or Virgin paying that same amount to the Nigerian authority?

“And when you ask them, when are going to get your money back? they tell you no until you stop flying to Gatwick.

“So for the rest of your life, you put that money there, but we started negotiation before, it came down a little.”

Nevertheless, he emphasised that the airline is doing its best to adjust and that airpeace is breaking even because it has been embraced by the people.

He called on the government to support Made in Nigeria businesses, because it is only the local operators that can save the nation.

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