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UK stops Air Peace from landing to evacuate stranded Nigerians

UK stops Air Peace from landing to evacuate stranded Nigerians

 

The British authorities have stopped Nigerian private carrier, Air Peace airline from evacuating stranded Nigerians in the UK.

A statement released by the Nigeria high commission in London on Sunday July 12, said the evacuation flights from London Heathrow to Abuja and Lagos will now depart from Gatwick Airport on Tuesday July 14.

The statement read;

“This is to inform all prospective evacuees that have been issued tickets for the Air Peace flights departing on July 13, 2020, from London Heathrow to Abuja and Lagos, that due to landing clearance issues, the flights have been rescheduled to depart on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 10:00am from Gatwick Airport.

“Furthermore, Air Peace Airlines has contracted Air Partner to operate the flight on its behalf and any other information will be communicated directly to the passengers.

“In light of the foregoing, the mission wishes to extend its appreciation to the chairman and management of Air Peace Limited for ensuring that our stranded nationals in the United Kingdom return home safely.”

The Foreign Affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama who reacted to the development said UK authorities decided to withdraw landing rights close to departure despite strong representations by the Nigerian Government including pointing out the hardship that would be caused to hundreds of Nigerian evacuees.

Onyeama said that though Air Peace could have just refunded the passengers, they exceptionally, patriotically and altruistically agreed to find an alternative carrier acceptable to the UK authorities to carry out the evacuation a day later than scheduled but for much higher fares.

The Minister added that the Nigerian Government will reconsider its Air agreements with various countries as a result of the unacceptable treatment of Nigerian carriers during this pandemic.

He tweeted;

“Having been allowed to carry out one very successful evacuation of Nigerians from London at very low fares, @flyairpeace in coordination with the @NigeriaGov and full knowledge of the UK authorities scheduled two additional flights.

“All the arrangements were made including payments, only for the UK authorities to withdraw landing rights close to departure despite strong representations by the Nigerian Government including pointing out the hardship that would be caused to hundreds of Nigerian evacuees.

“Air Peace could have just refunded the passengers but exceptionally, patriotically and altruistically agreed to find an alternative carrier acceptable to the UK authorities to carry out the evacuation a day later than scheduled but for much higher fares.

“These higher fares could legitimately have been passed on to the evacuees but Air Peace bore this huge cost itself. This is to let the aggrieved evacuees know that the objects of their grievance should neither be Air Peace nor the Nigerian Government.

“They should rather be eternally grateful to Air Peace. The Nigerian Government will review its Air agreements with various countries as a result of the unacceptable treatment of Nigerian carriers during this pandemic”.

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