April 11, 2024

NCSCN seeks waiver for Air Peace airline

Air Peace

By Ezra Ukanwa

The National Civil Society Council of Nigeria (NCSCN), has sought for waivers for Air Peace airline.

The group reacted following the ongoing pricing competition among airline operators in Nigeria, orchestrated by the entry of an indigenous Airline, Air Peace into the Lagos-London route.

It would be recalled that Air Peace had recently commenced international flight operations from Lagos to London at a highly reduced rate which has shockingly exposed the long years of exploitation of Nigerian travelers by foreign operators and bigger players, which has triggered a pricing war to outwit each other.

Before the launching of Air Peace to the Lagos/London route, foreign operators had, for decades, monopolized this high-traffic and very profitable route, taking undue advantage of countless thousands of Nigerian travelers, subjecting them to pay the costliest fares in Africa, while other countries pay much lower rates for same destination.

The exorbitant fares inflicted on the Nigerian travelers became so unbearable that those who could not afford it were forced to suspend international trips while some like students shifted their patronage to the neighboring countries where low inventory fares were available.

Relief, however, came with the commencement of Air Peace flights to London. Immediately Air Peace announced its fares which have been found far more affordable for Nigerians, the foreign carriers, out of fears of losing their Nigerian passengers to Air Peace, have engaged in price wars for survival.

NCSCN discovered that the majority of the foreign operators on the Lagos/London destination have now drastically slashed fares to the point of charging lower than the Air Peace, just to run this patriotic indigenous operator out of business, and thereafter return to the price hike regime.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director, Blessing A. Akinlosotu, on Thursday, pointed out the numerous interventions of Air Peace for Nigerians at various times of national emergencies and distress, describing Air Peace as the most patriotic and progressive Airline Operator in Nigeria.

He said: “Many Airlines are today forced to lure passengers to book an economy class seat on the Lagos/London route with N907,782 fares as against the over N2 million for the economy they charged before now, British Airways has been forced to slash its fares on the Abuja/London Heathrow to N1,394,536 as against the over N3 million it was formerly charging. Now, an economy class ticket on Virgin Atlantic from Lagos to London has been brought down to N980, 654,000 as against the N2.353,200 it used to charge.”

Akinlosotu called on the Federal Government and all Nigerians to see this as a national challenge to our Economy.

“The Federal Government and all well-meaning Nigerians must rise up to save our most patriotic and progressive indigenous operator, the Air Peace from this international Aero-politics by foreign airlines who are seriously threatened by the rising profile and business strategies of a Nigerian Operator with impressive global records of flight operations between Nigeria and other countries like China, UAE, Israel Brazil and South Africa during the pandemic seamlessly.

“Air Peace has really exposed the foreign operators, just like GLO Nigeria did to the foreign Telecom Providers. Who would have imagined the possibility of all foreign operators coming down so low in pricing if not for the entrance and intervention of Air Peace?

“Air Peace must be protected, rewarded, and honoured for this patriotic gesture. The Civil Society Council hereby calls on all Nigerians to patronise Air Peace irrespective of the deceptive lower pricing of the foreign conspirators, as this will save our Naira and further grow our National Economy.

“All the foreign operators repatriate their profits and funds to home countries, but Air Peace is indigenous and reinvents profits here in Nigeria to the advantage of the Naira.

“The Council, therefore, appeals passionately to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, as an accomplished Businessman himself, to help the Air Peace by granting a waiver of One Year Tax Holiday, which would go a very long way in keeping this patriotic indigenous operator afloat, against the foreign onslaught. The foreign conspiracy must not be allowed to prevail over Nigeria”, he said.