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Air Peace Announces Plans for New York, Houston Routes As London Entry Slashes Airfares

Air Peace Announces Plans for New York, Houston Routes As London Entry Slashes Airfares

In an interview with Arise Television on Monday, Air Peace Airlines’ CEO, Allen Onyema, announced ambitious plans for the airline’s potential expansion, signaling a significant shift in the aviation industry, following its grand entry to London.

Onyema disclosed that the airline is gearing up to commence flights to New York and Houston by the year’s end, in addition to initiating services from Abuja to London.

“We are prepared to take on more flights,” Onyema declared, noting the company’s readiness to bolster its operations. He revealed ongoing efforts to acquire additional aircraft, crucial for realizing these ambitious plans.

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Highlighting the current flight activity to Gatwick Airport, Onyema said: “We are doing seven daily flights into Gatwick. Nigeria has a balance of about fourteen to do. We are ready, if the government gives us Abuja-London, I will do it, because we are expecting more aircraft into the country purchased by Air Peace. If we get it, we will do it.

The CEO elucidated further on the impending expansion, stating, “We are planning to hit New York or Houston towards the end of the year because we are bringing in more 777s.”

He elaborated on the meticulous inspection of potential acquisitions, stating, “My staff, they’re in California, the engineering technical services department… inspecting some three 777s we want to acquire. So, if we could get them in the next two or three months, then of course, we are good to go anywhere.”

Onyema candidly addressed the challenges encountered in establishing the long-awaited Lagos-London flights, citing both internal and external obstacles. “You suffer what I call both internal and external conspiracies,” he lamented, reflecting on the arduous seven-year journey to secure the designation for London flights.

Meanwhile, former President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies, Bankole Bernard, has noted Air Peace’s disruptive impact on market dynamics during an appearance on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme. Bernard attributed the reduction in airfares to Air Peace’s competitive pricing strategy, compelling foreign carriers to recalibrate their fares to remain competitive.

The launch of direct flight operations to Gatwick Airport in London by Air Peace further rattled the market, with tickets offered at a competitive rate of N1.2 million. Bernard noted the seismic shift precipitated by Air Peace’s entry into the market, warning that failure to adjust pricing structures could lead to foreign carriers exiting the market.

He said: “How come all of a sudden airfares have gone down? What could be responsible for that? Number one: there is a new entrant to a major route (Lagos-London).

“There are two major destinations that Nigerians ply. Number one is Dubai and Dubai has been out of it for a while now. So, we (Nigerians) have resorted to the London route. The UK route is where a lot (of foreign carriers) use to earmark their airfares.

“Now that Air Peace has come into that space with a direct flight that will not cause any layover in any other country, the price has dropped. Why? What happened? Is there magic around that? We should be able to question what made the prices drop.

“The prices will drop as long as we have another form of supply that is different from the conventional ones. The supply that we now have, that is Air Peace, which is a direct flight, will put pressure on every other route. So, all the other airlines are forced to quickly adjust or they will be out of the market in no time.”

The tangible impact of Air Peace’s entry into the market was underscored by the notable difference in air ticket costs, particularly on the Lagos-London route. With RwandAir Express offering tickets at N1,102,563, Royal Air Maroc at N1,628,675, and Ethiopian Airlines at N1,641,249, the market dynamics have witnessed a significant upheaval, driven by Air Peace’s disruptive strategy.

The move by Air Peace for further expansion and market dominance is expected to bring transformative changes to the aviation industry, heralding a new era of competition and innovation.

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