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Following last week’s arrival of the third Boeing 777 aircraft, recently acquired by Air Peace, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Allen Onyema has averred that the carrier had proved beyond doubt that it was the face of the bright future of Nigeria in the global aviation industry.
The aviation investor, who chided insinuations that Air Peace was merely acquiring and parking wide-body aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, in Lagos, explained that the latest addition was a big boost for its plans to soon start long-haul flight operations to Sharjah, Dubai, London, Houston, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai, and Johannesburg.
The latest arrival touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 3:20p.m. on Wednesday last week and was honoured with a “spectacular” water salute staged by men of the Fire Service Department of the Federal Airports of Authority of Nigeria.
Top management staff as well as leading aviation authorities and airline workers cheered the new arrival with excitement.
Business Hilights recalls that the company had on February 23, 2018, took the delivery of its first Boeing777 aircraft marked 5N-BVE and named, “Ifechukwu” to become the first Nigerian carrier to acquire and register the aircraft type in the country.
This was followed by the arrival of the second delivery of same Boeing777 marked 5N-BUU and named “Ojochide” on August 25, 2018.
Explaining more before the cheerful crowd who viewed Air Peace’s jumping investment as good for the nation’s ailing aviation industry; Onyema noted that the airline was strategically increasing the number of aircraft to be deployed for its long-haul operations to ensure quick and efficient recovery when any of the aircraft is out of service.
On why Nigerian banks are rushing Air Peace for financing deals, he disclosed that “Air Peace has earned respect in financial and business development discipline hence, banks and related institutions and other critical stakeholders in the global aviation industry are responding positively to every deal facilitation request put on the table.
It would be recalled that Fidelity Bank Plc had few months ago sealed fleet financing understanding with Air Peace in Lagos.
Referring to claims of parking big-body aircraft, Onyema made it clear that “I don’t think Air Peace is parking aircraft for fun. We brought in these aircraft to use them. We want to do this country very proud. We want to make every Nigerian proud of their own”.
“Both the government and people of Nigeria have been complaining that there has never been any successful Nigerian airline. This is one airline out of Africa trying to do something different. All we need at this point in time is the support of everyone – both the government and people of Nigeria.
“I set up Air Peace in order to create jobs in a country with so much potential, yet nothing to show for it. I and my wife just created this to give back to society. And that is very evident in the way we are running Air Peace.
“This particular aircraft will create at least another 1,500 jobs. And I want people to look at the potential, the number of families that will benefit. Every Nigerian who is working takes care of about another 12 Nigerians. So, if I am going to employ 1,500 Nigerians because of the entry of this aircraft, it means this aircraft will be feeding 1,500 multiplied by 12 people daily. This airline is the biggest, not only in Nigeria, but the entire West Africa. This airline is respected worldwide,” Air Peace boss intoned.
On recurring financial defaults by domestic airlines, Onyema argued that “A lot of people are saying Nigerian airlines are poor, they are indebted, and they don’t have integrity. Air Peace has integrity. All the banks in Nigeria want to work with Air Peace because of our integrity. All the banks outside Nigeria are looking towards Air Peace. They see Air Peace as an emerging force out of Africa, and everybody wants to support it.”
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