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    Wednesday, February 28, 2024

    Air Peace Slashes Lagos-London Route Fare by 66%

    Competition has commenced on Lagos-London route as Nigeria’s largest carrier, Air Peace pegs it’s economy class ticket at N1.2million, thereby slashing fares by 66 percent on the route.

    BusinessDay’s checks show that foreign airlines charge an average of N3.5 million for economy class tickets from Lagos to London. This indicates that with Air Peace’s 1.2 million economy class ticket, the airline has slashed ticket price by about 66 percent.

    British Airways which had an exclusive advantage of operating direct flight from Lagos to London now has Air Peace to contend with as Air Peace also has the same advantage as Air Peace would operate flight from Lagos to Gatwick London.

    Air Peace went live on Wednesday with its flight schedules for its London service billed to commence on March 30, 2024.

    According to the airline, a return economy class ticket goes for 1,200,000 naira while a Return Business Class Ticket sells for 4,000,000 naira, adding that Nigerians studying in the UK can now access their special 15 percent rebate on the already reduced economy fares.

    It can be recalled that the airline had announced a special fare for Nigerian students in the UK when it hosted travel agents in Lagos last week preparatory to the launch of the London route.

    British Airways Economy class return ticket from Lagos to London cost $2,698 which amounts to about N4.7 million, using the N1778 to a dollar International Air Transport Association (IATA) rate on the airline ticketing platform. British Airways Business class cost $8,598 which amounts to about N15.2million.

    For Virgin Atlantic, Economy classic cost $1,745 which amounts to N3.1million, Economy delight cost $1,797 which amounts to almost N3.2million, Economy Premium cost $3,442 which amounts to N6.1 million.

    Business class on Virgin Atlantic cost $7578, which amounts to about N13.5million.

    Return tickets on Qatar Airways for

    Economy Class tickets costs between ( $973 to $2,095 which amounts to between N1.7m and N3.2m depending on the ticket class.

    Business class ticket on Qatar Airways cost between $3,826, and $4,757, which amounts to between N6.8m and N8.4million.

    Ndukwe Ginika Ogechi, CEO Geena Travels And Tours Ltd told BusinessDay that Air Peace’s fares are good compared to other airlines, adding that she envisages intense competition on the route soon.

    “My clients are already excited, although they expected the fares to be cheaper since Air Peace is a Nigerian carrier and the foreign exchange pressure is not so much on them. However, IATA’s exchange rate on the platform as at Wednesday is N1,778 to a dollar, which is really high. This exchange rate will continue to be a key consideration when airlines fix prices,” Ogechi said.

    She said on Monday, the exchange rate on the IATA platform was N1,805. This also pushed ticket prices up on Monday.

    John Ojikutu, industry expert and the CEO of Centurion Aviation Security and Safety Consult, Nigeria said “competition has started, I hope, with the foreign airlines and their multiple frequencies and destinations in our country can gradually get reduced.

    “This is the beginning of the competition for scrapping the exploitation of the foreign airlines on the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) routes. We hope those in the administration of our government and the management of the agencies will give the necessary support to Air Peace?,” Ojikutu said.

    Air fares in the last two years has risen by over 400 percent as a result of accumulating trapped funds of foreign airlines in Nigeria caused by the foreign exchange rate.

    The CBN has directed banks to remove the cap on the investors and exporters’ (I&E) window of the fore market to allow for the free float of naira exchange rate.

    Last year, Nigeria officially floated its naira currency after years of sticking with a hard peg that spooked investors and drained dollars from the economy.

    Recalled that since two years now, airlines blocked low ticket inventories, leaving high inventories to be sold in naira only while the low ticket inventories on most airlines’ websites can only be bought with dollar cards only. This was in a bid to cushion the effect of their trapped funds in Nigeria.

    Bankole Bernard, chairman of Airlines and Passengers’ Joint Committee (APJC) of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said Air Peace London flight is a welcome idea, especially as Nigeria would now have its own carrier creating balance of trade which is not tilted to one side.

    “There will be a bit of balance. Air Peace has been given a daily slot to Gatwick which amounts to seven frequencies, compared to 21 frequencies that the legacy airlines have; 14 in Lagos and seven in Abuja. To an extend, we have something that will balance it up.

    “Air Peace is not going to be faced with challenges of foreign exchange because the fares will be in naira. It is a welcome idea for travel agents and Nigeria as a whole. We appeal to Air Peace to try it’s best to sustain the London route. We are willing to give them all the support to ensure this is successful. With Air Peace, travel agents envisage a 50 percent fare reduction,” Bernard said.

    Oluwatoyin Olajide, chief operating officer, Air Peace during the launch of the Lagos-London flight with travel agents said the service will be operated with the airline’s Boeing 777 aircraft and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, one of the most modern and efficient aircraft in the skies.

    She also said the airline will be launching with special promo fares and attractive plans for agents.

    “Operating daily, this service will also offer several other benefits which give Air Peace an edge over the competition. It’s a direct flight without stop-overs and offers unbeatable fares. The specifics of these offers and other Unique Selling Points will be presented as this engagement progresses.

    London will be the Air Peace’s 7th international destination since kicking off operations less than 10 years ago.

    Air Peace currently leads Nigeria’s aviation industry with a rapidly expanding network of 21 domestic routes, 10 regional routes and 6 international destinations with a growing modern fleet of over 30 aircraft.

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