Minister of aviation and aerospace, Festus Keyamo has said Nigeria is discussing with the United Kingdom (UK) to actualise direct flights from Lagos to London.
The minister spoke during a meeting with the management of NORSE Atlantic Airways, led by Ben Boiling, its chief executive officer (CEO), in London on Friday.
This was disclosed in a statement on Saturday by Odutayo Oluseyi, spokesperson to the minister.
Keyamo said he is speaking with UK transport officials and the discussion is centred on the partnership between NORSE Atlantic Airways and Air Peace.
He emphasised that NORSE Atlantic Airways is a major carrier in UK and Europe.
Speaking on the issue, Oluwatoyin Olajide, chief operating officer (CEO) of Air Peace, expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting would fulfil its purpose of enabling the airline to commence its flight operations into the UK.
Also, Keyamo said one of his key goals in office was to ensure the growth and development of Nigeria’s domestic airlines, in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda.
Responding to the minister, Boiling said NORSE Atlantic Airways was ready to commence the partnership with Air Peace when the final authorisation is granted to the airline for the commencement of direct flights into Gatwick Airport, London.
“Since securing its authorisation to fly into the UK, after satisfying all the requirements, the issue of slot allocation at Gatwick Airport has been the major obstacle preventing the Airline from commencing the direct flight into London,” Oluseyi said.
In November 2023, Air Peace had secured a foreign carrier operator permit (FCOP) to fly into UK.
Since securing the authorisation, the issue of slot allocation at Gatwick Airport has been the major obstacle preventing the airline from commencing the direct flight into London.
However, the UK department for transport informed Air Peace during the discussion that the UK government had no control over the required allocation of slots at the eight primary airports in the country.
The department agreed to raise the federal government’s concern with relevant authorities on the three main issues presented on behalf of Air Peace.
The issues include the long departure time, restrictive turnaround time, and approval for the 2024 summer schedule.