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Air Peace Alleges Operational Sabotage By Gatwick Airport In New Lagos-London Route

Posted by Thandiubani on Fri 12th Apr, 2024 -

Onyema reported an unsettling incident in which, just 24 hours before departure, Air Peace was abruptly reassigned to a different check-in area away from the initially assigned spot.

Air Peace CEO, Allen Onyema has made a claim against Gatwick Airport.
Onyema accused the airport authorities of deliberate operational interference aimed at disrupting the carrier’s new Lagos-London route.
This claim was made during an exclusive interview on Channels TV’s evening program, “Politics Today.”
Since initiating direct flights between Lagos and London a few weeks ago, Air Peace has faced multiple operational hurdles, which Onyema attributes to a calculated effort by Gatwick Airport to impede the airline’s smooth functioning in the competitive UK market. This revelation comes amid rising tensions between local and international carriers over the lucrative route.
Detailing the adversities, Onyema reported an unsettling incident in which, just 24 hours before departure, Air Peace was abruptly reassigned to a different check-in area away from the initially assigned spot. The new location was plagued with a non-functional carousel, forcing staff to transport luggage manually over considerable distances, resulting in unnecessary delays.
“No other airline faced that,” Onyema stated, highlighting the uniqueness of the challenge to Air Peace. He further explained that on the day of the reassignment, the boarding gate in the newly assigned area had collapsed, adding to the list of operational frustrations experienced by the airline at Gatwick.
Onyema perceives these disruptions not as random incidents but as part of a broader strategy to displace Air Peace under the stringent 80/20 slot rule at airports. This rule requires airlines to maintain an 80% on-time departure rate to retain their slots. Failure to meet this threshold could lead to the revocation and redistribution of slots to competing airlines.
The CEO emphasized that while Air Peace consistently departs on schedule from Lagos, its operations are regularly hampered upon arrival in London. He cited additional delays caused by the late arrival of ground handlers provided by the airport, which further complicates the timely departure of flights from Gatwick.
These repeated delays not only affect the airline’s operational efficiency but also threaten its standing under the airport’s slot regulation policies. “It seems to be a calculated attempt to force us out of the market,” Onyema asserted, expressing concern over the sustainability of Air Peace’s operations in the face of such challenges.
In response to these ongoing issues, Air Peace has begun compiling a comprehensive dossier documenting each incident of alleged sabotage. This record will be presented to the Federal Government of Nigeria as part of a plea for intervention to address what Onyema describes as “injustices” at Gatwick Airport.
The airline’s struggle reflects broader issues in the international aviation market, where competition can sometimes lead to conflict between airports and airlines, particularly when new entrants disrupt existing market dynamics by offering lower fares.
While Gatwick Airport has not yet responded to these allegations, the situation raises questions about fair play in airport operations and the treatment of international airlines by local airport authorities. The incident could potentially lead to diplomatic discussions between the UK and Nigeria, focusing on the treatment of carriers operating internationally.

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