Direct flights between Nigeria and China will soon be established, thereby reduing air travelers between the two countries the trouble and cost of interconnecting flights.
Nearly 10,000 km (over 6,000 miles) separate Nigeria and China in a flight lasting about 12 hours directly with flight tickets ranging over $3,000.
The service will come courtesy of Air Peace, one of Nigeria’s leading airlines, which has obtained approval of the civil authorities in Nigeria to fly from Enugu to Guangzhou in China.
Executive chairman of the carrier, Allen Onyema, stated this yesterday in Lagos while receiving a group of visiting Chinese investors in his office, adding that it would be deploying the wide-bodied Boeing 777 on the route.
The delegation was from the China Overseas Investment Union (COIU) led by Pansy Liu, its chairman.
Only regulatory approval from the Chinese government is delaying the inauguration of the service, he stated, as he asked the Chinese investors to put in a word with the authorities in Beijing to enable the service which would benefit travelers between the two nations.
The direct flight service will be enhanced with an interlining agreement between Air Peace and China Southern Airlines, the leading carrier in China to enable passengers of the two airlines to enjoy each other’s flights irrespective of which of the two fliers issued the ticket.
Onyema assured the Chinese delegation of the importance Air Peace attached to safety, adding that the airline had the best pilots in Africa.
According to him, Air Peace recruited tested pilots and flight engineers from the world’s leading carriers while it had round the clock servicing agreement with a top a top range British company, BCT Aviation for maintenance of its fleet.
He further disclosed that as part of its strategic plan to dominate the airline business in Nigeria and fly across the world’s skies, Air Peace was acquiring more Boeing 777 aircraft.
The airline executive further announced that it was holding talks with a Chinese aircraft manufacturer to institute a partnership.
Onyema therefore restated the need for quick approval from China so that fliers between the two countries could fly in safety and comfort at affordable cost.
Liu promised to take up the approval issue with the government on return to China as the direct flight service had great benefits to the economy of the two countries.
She stated that she and other members of the delegation were pleased with the service and courtesy exhibited by Air Peace crew on their flight from Abuja.
The COIU with over a thousand member companies and businesses is the foreign investment arm of the Investment Association of China, a country-wide private-sector umbrella organization with tens of thousands of members.