Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, is becoming a well known name around the globe. Now, the airline is almost ready to begin their first long haul international service in July. According to CH-Aviation, the carrier plans to start service between their base in Lagos and Sharjah in the UAE.
It is the first step in Air Peace’s huge international expansion plans, with ambitions to fly as far afield as Houston and Guangzhou.
The Sharjah flights
The flights between Lagos and Sharjah will commence on Friday 5th July, and will operate three times per week using one of Air Peace’s Boeing 777s.
The flights will push back from Lagos early evening for the overnight flight to Sharjah. After a three hour turnaround, it is a morning flight back to Lagos from Sharjah, arriving in Nigeria’s biggest city in time for lunch.
Air Peace’s 777s are a three class product, and although second hand, they are well equipped. Two have come from Emirates and one from Singapore Airlines. The interesting thing is that these aircraft retain their predecessor’s cabin seats, making the reasonably inexpensive premium cabin prices on Air Peace an interesting proposition.
The ties between Nigeria and the UAE extend beyond oil. Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a population tipped to reach 400 million by 2050. Fast population growth and a rising GDP offer significant investment opportunities, and the UAE is already one of the largest investors in West Africa.
The new Air Peace flights between Lagos and Sharjah can capitalise on these links.
Air Peace has big plans for its international expansion. It has announced plans to fly to London, Houston, Guangzhou, Mumbai and Johannesburg.
These plans have been greeted with some scepticism. United withdrew its flights between Houston and Lagos in 2016, saying that while the two oil capitals appreciated the air link, there wasn’t enough traffic to sustain their 787 flights. Additionally, the Nigerian government was imposing tight currency controls on United, making it difficult to get cash back to the USA.
Air Peace seems to think it can make a better go of the route.
China’s strategy of ploughing investment dollars into developing countries like Nigeria arouses controversy, but seems unstoppable. China has sent billions of dollars into Nigeria and other African nations in the form of loans and investments, including in their airports.
The practice may be raising the ire of western nations who fear Chinese expansionism. However, it creates new ties between old Commonwealth countries like Nigeria and new forces in the global economy such as China.
The investment links between Nigeria and China may be the reasoning behind Air Peace’s proposed Lagos – Guangzhou flights.
With a prolific influx of foreign carriers not to mention the behemoth that is Ethiopian Airlines to contend with, it’s great to see a home grown African airline reaching out to the world. While Houston and London may be some time off, we’re looking forward to seeing Air Peace in their pretty livery arriving in the UAE.
Will you fly Air Peace from Sharjah? Where do you think they should fly next? Let us know in the comments!