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Air Peace suspends Johannesburg flights from August 22

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AIR PEACE has suspended flight operations from Nigeria to Johannesburg, effective August 22, 2022.

In a statement signed by the airline’s management on Monday, July 8 via Twitter, the airline said delayed issuance of South African visas to travellers, worsening forex crunch and aviation fuel scarcity were the reasons behind the decision.

The airline explained that flight operations would be suspended till October 8, 2022.

It said, “We hereby inform the flying public that effective from August 22, 2022, our Johannesburg flight operations will be suspended till October 8, 2022.

“This development is regretted but has become inevitable due to the delayed issuance of South African visas to travellers, worsening forex crunch and the increasing cost of aviation fuel as well as its scarcity.”

The statement added that the difficulty of getting South African visas by Nigerians resulted in abysmally low passenger loads on its flights to and from Johannesburg. It hoped that the involvement of the South African High Commission in Lagos would alleviate the situation before resuming operations in October.

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“Passengers whose flights are affected have the option of rescheduling to fly before August 22, 2022 or from October 9, 2022. Passengers can also request a refund via callcenter@flyairpeace.com and our team will attend to it promptly,” part of the statement read.

Two years ago, on December 18, 2020, the airline completed its inaugural flight from Lagos to Johannesburg, South Africa, with its Chairman, Allen Onyema, saying that the desire to connect to Johannesburg was a six-year dream.

The Chief Operating Officer of the airline, Mrs Toyin Olajide, had said the operations on the route would begin with two flights per week.

Olajide said, “We are starting with two frequencies in a week. We are doing one on Thursday and another on Sunday, but the intention is to increase to daily flights.

“Due to the current situation in the market, it is better to take it one step at a time. Then, as the market increases, we will continue to increase our flights.”

An Air Peace aircraft

Like Air Peace, Emirates had on July 30, 2022, reduced the number of its weekly flights from Dubai to Lagos from 11 to seven due to issues of repatriation of its funds.

The airline said the blocked funds were beginning to affect the carrier’s operating costs, as well as its commercial viability, adding it could not continue to accumulate losses in the face of the challenging coronavirus pandemic.

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It outlined its efforts in meeting with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, in May 2022 to resolve the issue, disclosing that meetings held with the bank that Emirates uses in Nigeria, in collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to discuss improving forex allocation, were met with limited success.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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