Air Peace receives 4th Embraer 195-E2 aircraft
...Set to connect more cities across Nigeria
Nigeria’s largest carrier, Air Peace on Thursday received its 4th Embraer 195-E2 aircraft as it intensifies plans to connect more States across Nigeria.
This is as the airline says that additional three brand new 195-E2 aircraft would join the airline fleet before the end of 2021, as it plans to also take delivery of all the 13 Embraer 195-E2 aircraft it placed a firm order for from Embraer Aircraft Manufacturing Company in Brazil by the end of 2022.
Speaking during the reception of the 4th 195-E2 aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Allen Onyema, chairman of Air Peace said the airline was supposed to have received more of the new aircraft from Brazil but the scarcity of dollars has delayed the arrival of the aircraft.
He explained that the airline is grabbling with foreign exchange issues and before the aircraft is delivered some payments have to be made.
“We call it delivery payment. Each of the three aircraft generates almost a thousand jobs. If older aircraft are doing eight flights a day, these ones can do about 15 flights a day,” he said.
Onyema said Air Peace decided to go for these new aircraft in order to give Nigerians what they deserve and make them comfortable, adding that before the end of 2020, the airline will be bringing in additional three new aircraft to bring the number to seven.
He said the airline wants to make connectivity easy for Nigerians by interconnecting all cities in Nigeria so as to energize the country and provide jobs, noting that the 195-E2 plane can land where Boeing 737 cannot land because of its unique technology.
“We have increased connectivity and additional destinations. We are doing Port Harcourt, Asaba –Kano, Benin-Port Harcourt. We have started Lagos-Douala and we are going to connect to other destinations in the West and Central Africa,” the airline’s chairman explained.
He expressed his confidence in Nigerian airlines reiterating that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) carries out thorough surveillance on the airlines.
“A lot of people do not give Nigerian airlines the respect they deserve. Nigerian airlines are very safe. In 2018, we decided that as part of our business plans, we would start operating new aircraft. Old aircraft are also good and safe but for new aircraft, maintenance and operational costs are lower. Nigerian airlines have one of the youngest fleets in the world. Some planes flying in the United States are as old as 40 or 50 years but in Nigeria, operators use younger fleet,” he said.
Speaking on the recent flight delays and cancellations across the country, he hinted that no airline wants to delay or cancel flights but have dollar and weather challenges making it impossible to operate seamlessly.
“Airlines do not intentionally delay on cancel flights but this is as a result of COVID-19 challenges and the poor weather experienced across the country. Airlines cannot fly planes that are not airworthy,” he said.
The director-general of NCAA, Musa Nuhu during his remarks congratulated the chairman of Air Peace for being consistent and deliberate in its plans to renew its fleet and connect more cities in Nigeria.
“It gladdens my heart that Nigerian airlines are not only getting new aircraft but are getting the right aircraft. The connectivity in Nigeria has improved and it’s getting better.
“These new aircraft have low maintenance and operational costs and are environmentally friendly. This is the way to go. I believe with time, Air Peace will change all its fleet to newer ones,” Nuhu said.
He recalled that pre-covid, 10 to 12 million passengers passed through the country’s airports, which only amounts to 10 percent of the country’s population.
He said this number can be increased as airlines clinched plans to connect different parts of the country for trade, thereby contributing to the country’s GDP.