Effective March 31st, Nigeria’s Air Peace will commence direct flights to India, while operation to Israel is scheduled for April 20th.
Also, plans are in the works, according to Air Peace Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Allen Onyeama, disclosed that the carrier has completed plans to begin three times a week flight service to Jeddah and Medina, to make it easy for Nigerians who wish to travel for pilgrimage
He added that it is in fulfilment of the promise the airline made to Nigerians to connect them to domestic destinations and the world.
The airline commenced direct flight from Lagos to Guangzhou, China on July 13, 2022.
Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gangadharan Balasubramanian, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that Air Peace, a private Nigerian airline, had concluded plans for the inaugural flight from Lagos to Mumbai, Bombay.
“I can announce to you that Air Peace will be flying directly from Lagos to India on March 31st for the inaugural flight.
“This is part of the implementation of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) aimed at deepening relations between both countries, so I have been invited for the inauguration,” he said.
Balasubramanian explained that the direct flight would further strengthen economic, trade, bilateral relations, and people-to-people ties between both strategic countries.
“The volume of trade between both countries as at 2022 is $14.95 billion, so we believe agreements such as this will go a long way in boosting our relations,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the new route would increase the volume of trade between both countries, while opening a new vista of opportunities for citizens of both countries.
NAN reports that Nigeria and the Republic of India had in 2019 signed a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA), to deepen flight operations end to end.
Minister for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, expressed optimism that the agreement will further deepen cooperation between both countries.
BASA covers the basic framework under which airlines are granted bilateral rights to fly between two countries. The frequency, designated airlines of the signatories, origin, intermediate points as well as traffic rights, type of aircraft and tax issues are normally covered by Memoranda of Understanding.
The new route is expected to further boost relations between both countries, as more than 135 Indian companies currently operate in Nigeria.
India is becoming the prime destination for Nigerians seeking medical tourism, studies, and businesses among others.
In yet another milestone, Air Peace will operate the first direct flight from Nigeria to the State of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel-Aviv, on April 20.
The Israeli Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Brigadier General Miri Regev, who disclosed this in Israel, noted that this would be a historic feat, as there had never been a direct flight between the country and Nigeria.
The direct flight will offer a huge relief to Nigerians and Israelis, who have to travel for 27 hours from Nigeria to Israel via other nations, will now take just five hours.
“Nigeria’s flag carrier Air Peace will begin operating direct flights to Israel for the first time, starting on April 20, the Minister of Transportation and Road Safety announced today (Sunday). Minister Regev today approved the aviation agreement signed between Israel and Nigeria, and submitted it for government approval.
“The signed agreement will for the first time allow the airlines of each of the countries to operate regular flights at Ben Gurion Airport to several destinations in Nigeria, such as Abuja and Lagos. In the first phase, the Nigerian company (airline) will operate two weekly flights between Israel and Nigeria.
“So far, no direct flights have been operated between the two countries and the thousands of pilgrims who come to Israel every year from Nigeria have flown through Turkey or Ethiopia. The agreement will allow Israeli and Nigerian airlines to make direct flights between the countries and increase the number of pilgrims who come to Israel every year,” according to a source at the Israeli Embassy.
Brigadier-General Regev said Israel has started opening new routes to connect the world and identified Nigeria as one of the leading countries in Africa that maintained close ties with Israel.
“Recently, we have witnessed a wave of new routes being opened to destinations all over the world, and I am happy to announce the launch of direct flights to Nigeria as well.
“Nigeria is one of the leading countries in Africa, and it maintains close ties with Israel in a wide variety of fields, along with traffic of pilgrims who come to Israel to visit the holy places of Christianity. I welcome the opening of the new line and am sure that it will contribute to strengthening the business and cultural ties between the nations and between the governments,” she said.
The Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said the airline is prepared for the inaugural and subsequent flights to the Holy Land, which will begin with two flights a week and increase frequency over time.
Onyema commended the governments of Nigeria and Israel, saying that they made it possible, breaking old barriers to make direct flight between the two countries a reality, adding that it is an indication of the strong relationship between the two countries.
He expressed confidence that the airline would also secure approval from the Saudi authorities for flight services and would in next the few days announce the date for the scheduled flight operation.
Air Peace, which started operation in 2014, has recorded many firsts. It was the first Nigerian carrier that met the stringent safety and security standard of Israel, which enabled it to evacuate Israeli citizens during the COVID-19 lockdown in