NewsAir Peace Lagos-London Route Eases Pressure On Naira - Keyamo

Air Peace Lagos-London Route Eases Pressure On Naira – Keyamo

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March 30, (THEWILL) – The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, has commended Air Peace for their Lagos-London route, which he said has helped to reduce the pressure on the Nigerian currency: the Naira as against the US Dollars.

Keyamo made the observation Friday night, during Air Peace’s inaugural flight ceremony held at Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.

Air Peace on Friday, 29th March commenced its daily flight to Gatwick London with its Boeing 777 fully loaded with passengers.

Speaking at the ceremony, Keyamo said that the Tinubu-led government is going to ensure that they support local operators in accessing aircraft lease arrangements like what Air Peace is doing.

Keyamo pointed out that Nigeria had been on the blacklist when it comes to dry lease arrangements because of the previous experiences of the lessors.

He said, “Nigeria is on a blacklist to get these dry leases. That is part of what I have been undertaking since I came. I have been trying to assure the world and aircraft manufacturers, like Airbus, that we can protect their assets when they bring them into Nigeria. This is because what they want is whether we can allow them to take these assets when there are breaches of agreements”.

“The problem they always face is that when they bring their assets into the country, and there is a breach sometimes, because of court injunctions and local politics, they can no longer take their aircraft away. It is a huge loss to them. What they want is that they should be able to take these assets away when there is a breach. How do we do this? It is the government that will assure these creditors that please bring in your aircraft.”

Keyamo also noted that with Air Peace on the London route, there will be no problem with trapped funds, adding that the aviation company is a local company and that the government does not have to repatriate the sale of tickets to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

By doing so, the Minister stated that under such a situation, Nigeria would be liquid enough in terms of foreign exchange to repatriate those funds.

He said: “All the airlines that come into Nigeria, what they experience is massive repatriation of funds that puts pressure on the Naira because they have to seek for dollars, both the commercial banks and CBN. This new development eases the pressure on Naira because this is a Nigerian company that deals in naira and buys in naira. The only problem is that they still have to go abroad whenever they want to service their aircraft. So one of my major objectives is to bring the MRO into Nigeria. That is very important. The key to unlocking this industry is to ensure that MRO comes into the country as quickly as possible. The Chinese, Arabs, and Americans are talking to us. They all want to come and do something. For now, we have a choice because everybody wants to come in and invest in Nigeria because of the new approach of governance to investors.

On why airlines that operated the London route previously did not survive, the Minister said “The reason why previous airlines on the London Route did not survive is not because of the politics of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). It is about access to aircraft on favourable terms. We are going to pray for Air Peace and pray for Allen that he can sustain this. This is because he is doing this at great expense, even at marginal profit or loss to challenge and it is going to get better”.

In his remark, Honourable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite commended the airline, emphasising that Air Peace’s presence in London is not merely about arrivals and departures but about trade, investment, and collaboration.

By choosing Air Peace, Dr Uzoma noted that such customers have chosen to invest in Nigeria, empower local businesses, create jobs, and strengthen our economy.

To our esteemed passengers, I say this: Your choice to fly with Air Peace is a vote of confidence. Air Peace has a commendable safety record, they hold a 7 out of 7 safety rating according to Airline Ratings and the airline has successfully undergone the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification four times, signifying its commitment to rigorous safety standards. So I entreat all potential passengers to trust them to carry you safely across continents, and remember that you are part of a movement—a movement that encourages Nigerians to patronize their own”, the Minister added.

Also speaking at the event, Chairman/CEO of Air Peace, Dr Allen Onyema said Air Peace’s foray into the Lagos-London route is a testimony that Nigeria can handle the route.

Dr Onyema said the Air Peace foray into the Lagos-London route has made a whole lot of changes in the Nigerian economy, saving the country billions of Naira.

” You saw what has happened in the last one week. An airline came out and brought all the International airlines to their knees by bringing down the fares where they were supposed to be. When it happened all the foreign airlines started scampering for cover and they all came down overnight within 24 hours from 15 million to N5 and economy from N5m to N1.8m, N1.9m. This event has saved this country billions of Naira in the last three weeks. It has also helped in improving the value of the Naira against the dollar. What happened was that these foreign airlines were taking N15m and charging exorbitantly and they had so much money in their hands.”

Explaining further, the airline operator added “They took so much money to go to the market to look for dollars, putting a strain on the Naira. Now that we have done this, people are paying what they are supposed to pay and there is less demand for dollars because fewer Naira now is chasing the dollars and the thing came down also. So Air Peace has contributed in bringing the dollar rates down apart from all the measures put in place by President Bola Tinubu. I thank the president and his team. We are being supported”.

In her remark, the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs Olubunmi Kuku said FAAN is fully prepared for Air Peace’s operations in London, adding it has been a moment they have been waiting for.

“We are prepared. We have been waiting for this event for quite a while. It’s with great delight and pleasure to see Air Peace take off to London tonight. We have been working closely with the airline. As you can see, we have made provision for them in terms of necessary infrastructure. We got the checking counter available and we made sure we had the right security apparatus and of course that they had the right slots and landing aids. Again being one of our very own, we will continue to support them. We have to support Nigerians at crucial times.”

About the Author

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Anthony Awunor, is a business correspondent who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics (UNILAG). He is also an alumnus of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria Kaduna State. He lives in Lagos.

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Anthony Awunor, THEWILLhttps://thewillnews.com
Anthony Awunor, is a business correspondent who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics (UNILAG). He is also an alumnus of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria Kaduna State. He lives in Lagos.

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