By Audrey Lotechukwu
THUR 18 MARCH, 2021-theGBJournal-Air Peace on Thursday, took delivery of another of its thirteen Embraer E195-E2 aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Chairman of the airline, Barrister Allen Onyema, also explained reasons its capacity has depleted for sometimes.
According to him, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed down maintenance works on many of the aircraft that are in countries that are still observing lockdowns over the pandemic.
He said however that before the end of July, all the aircraft would be back in Nigeria.
“Air Peace is not the only airline that has been affected by the pandemic worldwide and Nigeria is not immune from those things that have tried to destroy aviation worldwide. As I speak to you, we have about 20 of our aircraft still in maintenance world-wide because of the effects of COVID19. Most of the countries where these planes were taken to are in various levels of lockdown and as a result, the pace of work on our planes has slowed down. This has depleted our capacity both within and outside Nigeria. We are not alone in this, all the older airlines are experiencing the same thing. The only airlines that may not be having these challenges are the very new airlines within and outside Nigeria because they are just starting. But those above seven years are all doing C-checks. But before the end of July, all our planes that are in maintenance will be brought back”, he said.
Onyema, who noted that the vision of the airline to continue to provide seamless connections to passengers locally and internationally is alive, said: ‘what you are witnessing today is the power of a vision. When we started in 2014, we knew that by 2017, we would start acquiring the B777 jets. When the time came, we became the first airline in Nigeria to acquire the Boeing 777 and now, we have three of such jets.
“When it was time to service airports with low traffic like Minna, Akure, Makurdi, Jalingo and other places, we acquired eight 50-seater Embraer 145 jets. While we were doing it, we didn’t lose sight of the need to start planning for brand new jets. On September 13, 2018, we became the first airline in sub Saharan Africa to pay for 10 Boeing 737 Max 8 and our order is still intact, we won’t cancel it.
“We are the first in Africa to pay for 13 brand new planes and we would be acquiring 17 more to make it 30. These planes shall be deployed to domestic and regional routes. These jets are the best. If all the powers shut down while 30 feet above sea level, a RAM deploys automatically and the plane lands effortlessly. The aircraft speaks to the pilot and the pilot speaks to it. By the time we get everything, we would be providing 8000 jobs to Nigerians”, he added.