The Nigerian government had for long planned to evacuate certain Nigerians from the United Kingdom but as a Nigerian Airline approached the airport in the U.K, it was denied a landing permit.
The evacuation flight was supposed to have arrived the London Heathrow airport on Monday but it is now billed for Gatwick airport on Tuesday.
The Spokesman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ferdinand Nwonye, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that a UK airline, Air Partner will now operate the flight.
After the refusal of the UK to grant diplomatic landing clearance to Air Peace, the Federal Government said it appealed to the airline to engage the services of an alternative airline to airlift the stranded citizens instead of refunding their payments, hence the use of Air Partner, one of the Global Air Charter companies advised by the British authorities.
The statement said,
“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 refusal to grant Air Peace landing rights is contrary to the evacuation of about 2,000 British nationals from Nigeria by British Airways after receiving special landing rights from the FG