Air Peace Chairman advocates infrastructure priority for Nigerian airlines
Barrister Allen Onyema, Air Peace Chairman

Allen Onyema, Air Peace Chairman believes events that led it to Gatwick Airport instead of its preferred Heathrow has played to the airline’s advantage.

Amid negotiations for a slot at Heathrow Airport, hurdles arose, prompting consideration of alternative options like Gatwick, Stansted, or Luton.

Eventually, Onyema, though initially hesitant, recognized Gatwick’s strategic benefits, including easier access to London’s south and efficient transportation links.

“When we applied, they told us Heathrow was not available to us and they were even suggesting London Stansted Airport or Luton. They also suggested Gatwick, but I refused. I wanted to go to Heathrow, which is their primary airport.

“But after sometime we said okay, as Nigerians are groaning under the weight of high fares; we decided even if it is Scotland; we would go. So, we decided to take Gatwick. Gatwick was not really our choice but in the long run we decided to see some goods in choosing Gatwick.

“Many of our people live down South East part of London and there is heavy traffic into Central London from Heathrow, but at Gatwick, they allotted Southern terminal to Air Peace and when you get to south terminal, you get out of immigration, take your luggage, you walk into the Gatwick express train within three minutes and that will take you to Victoria, right into Central London. From the south terminal you have access to tube, you have access to national rail and you have access to road transport to other parts of UK. So, Gatwick has turned out to even be better for us. That’s why we took Gatwick,” Dr Onyema said.

Addressing earlier concerns, Onyema hinted at imbalances in the Bilateral Air Services Agreement with the UK, emphasizing reciprocity in airport usage.

Air Peace commences direct flights to the United Kingdom from March 30.

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