Business Hilights
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Air Peace/IRS Case: Our $212.6m aircraft deal intact—Brazilian firm

Contrary to speculations that the sudden release of incriminating documents believed to have come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States of America’s Northern District Court of Georgia may frustrate the recently sealed bid by Air Peace to acquire three Embraer jets, sources close to the Brazilian aircraft manufacturing giant have dissociated the company from whatever is going on in the US.

Business Hilights recalls that Air Peace Chief of Finance and Administration, Ejiroghene Eghagha, had signed the new deal on behalf of the Nigerian airline at the Dubai Air show, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), as a follow-up of an earlier deal between the plane manufacturer and Air Peace airlines.

Just less than one week after the deal was consummated in Dubai, a 91 paragraphed indicting allegation from the US court surfaced across leading Nigerian media claiming that the founder of Air Peace allegedly moved much of his legitimate funds for buying US made aircrafts through routes that evaded certain taxes, thereby contravening some US tax laws.

Already, the chairman of Air Peace, Chief Barr Allen Ifechukwu Onyema, had through his lawyer, Augustine Alegeh (SAN), denied any form of wrong doing while purchasing all his aircrafts from the USA.

Recall that Air Peace had even before the Max 737 global suspension crisis, sealed supply deal with the US manufacturing firm, Boeing Group even though certain unconfirmed conspiracy theories tend to allege that US anger flared up due to the observed aircraft purchase switch from US firm to Brazilian Embraer.

Besides, additional details form Air Peace confirmed that it has to date, made a total firm order of 13 E195-E2s with 17 purchase rights for the same model, which delivery would begin in May next year.

The earlier signing made the carrier the first customer of the new brand of e-jets in Africa and launch customer of the brand of business class configuration for its ordered airplanes worldwide.

Air Peace Onyema 22
Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Barr Allen Ifechukwu Onyema

The E195-E2s will have dual configurations with 12-seater business class and 102-seater in the economy class. The aircraft also comes in a single configuration of all economy class of 144 seats.

Air Peace Chief of Finance and Administration, Ejiroghene Eghagha, while signing the new deal said the aircraft brand was the perfect aircraft to expand Air Peace’s domestic and regional operations and the new deliveries would ease the subsidiary fleet in the Air Peace Hopper to actualise the no-city-left-behind initiative.

“We are receiving impressive data about the aircraft’s economics when in revenue service, and this was a driver to place this new firm order with Embraer. We look forward to receiving our first aircraft, which will enhance connectivity in Nigeria and the African region. The new order will gradually replace our existing fleet, which will make us the airline with the youngest fleet in the world.

“It is our plan to connect the whole Nigerian cities that have airports and burst the triangular routes by connecting flights to direct destinations. Air Peace is looking forward to serving Nigerians with these brand new airplanes and adding more routes to the existing ones for the overall development of our country,” Eghagha said.

The airline also disclosed that with the delivery of the new jets, it would connect more cities in its domestic operations by developing new routes and connecting people to business hubs in different parts of the country.

“We will like to develop new routes to enhance the nation’s economy. We will like to connect Owerri to Kano, Benin to Port Harcourt, Ibadan to some destinations in the northern part of the country. We will also like to connect Sokoto to Maiduguri, Lagos to Gombe. We would connect these cities without stops in Lagos or Abuja.

“We will use our 50-seater Embraer ERJ 145 jets, which we acquired for this purpose. We have just added two of the brand to our existing six, making it eight aircraft. As the new deliveries arrive we utilise the 50-seater jets to connect every city in the country,” Air Peace finance chief noted.