British authorities have denied an Air Peace airline flight deployed to evacuate stranded Nigerians in the UK landing rights.
The Nigeria high commission in London which released a statement 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 returm home safely."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, 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 further stated 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 review its Air agreements with various countries as a result of the unacceptable treatment of Nigerian carriers during this pandemic.