The planned evacuation of Nigerians stranded in the United Kingdom has suffered a delay as British authorities denied a Nigerian airline, Air Peace, landing permit.
The evacuation flight which was earlier scheduled to depart London Heathrow airport today is now billed for Gatwick airport tomorrow.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ferdinand Nwonye, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday, revealed that a UK airline, Air Partner will now operate the flight.
Following the refusal of the UK to grant diplomatic landing clearance to Air Peace, the Federal Government said it appealed to Air Peace to engage the services of an alternative airline to airlift the stranded citizens instead of refunding their payments.
Air Peace engaged Air Partner, one of the Global Air Charter companies advised by the British authorities.
“It is pertinent to note that Air Peace gracefully contracted Air Partner to operate these charter flights on its behalf at a much higher cost than the ticket fares paid by the prospective evacuees.
“In the light of the foregoing, the Federal Government wishes to extend its appreciation to the chairman and management of Air Peace Limited for their commitments and patriotism in ensuring that our stranded nationals in the United Kingdom return home safely,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it will review all its existing bilateral air service agreements with other countries including its BASA with the United Kingdom.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, made this known in a statement via his Twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama shortly after the announcement that the British authorities refused a Nigerian airline, Air Peace, landing permit to operate a repatriation flight scheduled to depart London Heathrow airport.
See the Minister’s tweets below: