By Lawani Mikairu
Aviation experts have commended the growth plans of Air Peace Airline.This followed their order for 10 brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft om Wednesday.
The order comprises purchase rights for a further 20 E195-E2 jets. It made Air Peace the first to order the brand of jets in Africa, thereby becoming the official launch customer of the brand of aircraft in Africa. Aviation experts and stakeholders are celebrating this feat.
The commendation is coming on the heels of suggestions by the experts and stakeholders that the airline should immediately commence the building of its own hanger for simple maintenance and checks to speed up the growth of the airline.
Recall, Air Peace had also set a regional record in September 2018 when it ordered 10 brand new aircraft from Boeing, increasing its fleet size then to about 37 aircraft. With the new order, Air Peace’s fleet size will increase to 67 aircraft.
Shortly before the firm order for 10 brand new aircraft from Boeing, Air Peace set a domestic record as the first Nigerian airline to acquire and register the Boeing 777 aircraft in the country. Three of the four wide-body aircraft it acquired for its long-haul operations to Dubai, Sharjah, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai have so far been delivered.
Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, a former staff of the first regulatory authority of the civil aviation in Nigeria, Federal Civil Aviation Authority and an Aeronautic Engineer, Babatude Obadofin said what Air Peace has done in recent times is a demonstration of an airline that wants to compete with international airlines and has growth plans to actualize that competition.
According to Obadofin, “ a serious airline that wants to do business should not just go to the market to buy or lease a used aircraft. It should be ready to buy and add the latest brand of aircraft to its fleet. It shows foresight and seriousness. Latest technology reduces cost of operation for airlines. Latest brands of planes are more fuel efficient and easier and less expensive to maintain”.
He further said “ Air Peace is showing that it has foresight and has growth plan that will make it competitive. It takes time for manufacturers to deliver orders; sometime, two to four years. So, the earlier an airline places an order, the better for it.”
Speaking also with Saturday Vanguard, Engineer Sheri Kyari, a former engineer with defunct Nigeria Airways commended Air Peace for making Nigeria proud by being the first airline to order the brand of jets in the whole of Africa, thereby becoming the official launch customer of the brand of aircraft in Africa.
According to Kyari, “ I am so proud of that young man” ( Air Peace Chairman, Mr Allen Onyema). I commend his courage and zeal to make a success of his airline. I believe the federal government should do everything to encourage him and make him succeed. He has shown that Nigeria can also produce an airline that can compete with the big foreign ones if the enabling environment is created by the government.”
“He should immediate commence the building of an hanger for the airline. That is what he needs now for the large fleet he is building. That will facilitate the growth of the airline and will help easy maintenance,” he added.
A frequent flier and user of Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Hajia Aisha Bello told Saturday Vanguard that she is now more confident to fly Air Peace airline as the airline has shown commitment to do business. According to her, a large fleet will enable the airline reduce delays and cancellations of flights if any programmed aircraft of the airline has any snag.
Speaking on the latest order during Embraer Business Meeting with the Aviation World in Port Louis, Mauritius where the order was signed, Air Peace Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Allen Onyema said: “Embraer’s new E195-E2 presents us with a marvel of economic performance. It’s also great that we will be the first E2 operator on the African continent. We already have the ERJ145s in our fleet, so we understand the high standards of Embraer products.”
The E195-E2 aircraft, he said, would strengthen Air Peace’s drive to deploy the right kinds of aircraft to under-served and unserved domestic and regional routes under its no-city-left-behind project.
Onyema thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for creating an enabling environment for the growth of aviation in Nigeria through waving customs duties on commercial aircraft, engines and spares as well as granting value-added tax (VAT) waiver.
“Without these noble gestures from my President, Muhammadu Buhari, Air Peace would not have been able to achieve this growth. Thank you very much, Mr. President”, he said.
Responding , Vice President, Sales Africa, Embraer Commercial Aviation, Mr. Raul Villaron said: “Air Peace embodies the kind of pioneering spirit Embraer loves. The airline was established to bring highly skilled work opportunities to the people of Nigeria, boosting connectivity, and therefore the economy, in the region. Air Peace has delivered on both aims, while at the same time developing a fast-growing successful airline. It’s great to have them on board.