Air Peace: Analyst Warns Foreign Carriers Of Price Cut Or Exit

Travel and tourism authority Bankole Bernard notes that the introduction of Air Peace‘s non-stop service from Lagos to London is prompting foreign carriers, traditionally dominant on this route, to lower their airfares.

During his appearance on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief programme on Tuesday, Bernard warned that if foreign airlines persisted in not lowering their ticket prices for the Lagos-London route, they risked being pushed out of the market.

The past President of the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) disclosed that prices for international flight tickets on the Lagos-London route reached as high as N3.5 million, but with Air Peace offering return economy class tickets for N1.2 million, foreign carriers such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Qatar Airways are under pressure to slash their fares to stay competitive.

He said foreign airlines operating into the four major airports in Nigeria are making more than enough profit, unchallenged. The four major gateways are Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano. “If they’ve been able to do, there is no need coming out to complain about (forex) backlog. May be we set up an audit committee to look at how they arrived at these backlogs,” he said.

Read also: Air Peace Lambasts Sirika For Lying About Fleet Size

“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),” Bernard said.

“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 a 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, that is a direct flight — will definitely put pressure on every other route. So, all the other airlines are forced to quickly make an adjustment or they will be out of the market in no time.”

Air Peace, one of Nigeria’s foremost airlines, launched its direct flight services to Gatwick Airport in London on the preceding Saturday.

Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, and Minister of Trade and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anita, were among the notable figures aboard the first Lagos-London flight, accompanied by representatives from various industries and sectors.

Africa Today News, New York

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