By Chisom Nwatu.
Nigerian carrier Air Peace has launched direct flight operations from Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to Guangzhou, China.
The airline began the China route with one initial weekly flight and plans to increase the services to the long-haul route in the future.
It has also reached advanced stages to commence additional two international routes – India and Israel.
The Asian routes are among a number of routes ceded to the airline by the Nigerian government before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the inaugural flight at the Lagos Airport on Wednesday, Oluwatoyin Olajide, chief operating officer (COO), Air Peace, told journalists that the commencement of the China route was in fulfilment of its vision to provide seamless connections and expand the existing network to accommodate the evolving air travel needs of the flying public.
Olajide said the route was not strange to the airline, having successfully operated several evacuation/special flights to China at different times in the past, especially in the thick of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020.
She insisted that the airline was not going into China as a newcomer, but as a carrier that is technically and operationally acclimatised.
“The flying public, especially those that fly the Guangzhou route, should expect best-in-class flight experience, which is characteristic of the Air Peace brand. We’re not stopping with Guangzhou. India is next and Israel is in the works,” she said.
“Also planned for subsequent launch are Malabo in Equatorial Guinea and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We will continue to grow our route network as well as modernise our fleet strategically. Air Peace currently boasts of a network of twenty domestic routes, seven regional routes and two international destinations, including Dubai and Johannesburg,” the COO said.
She lauded the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Ministry of Aviation, the Chinese government, its partners and other stakeholders for making the Guangzhou route possible.
She assured that the airline would work harmoniously with all relevant aviation actors to ensure the new route was maximised.