Air Peace reaffirms order of 737Max

Nigeria’s Air Peace airline has reaffirmed that it made a firm order of Boeing 737 Max, which recently was recertified to resume operation.

Speaking at the latest delivery of its second brand new Embraer E195-2 in Abuja, the Chairman and CEO of the airline, Allen Onyema said that the airline’s order of the technology advanced aircraft subsists and that the timeline for its delivery would be announced.

Onyema hinted of an ongoing plan by the airline to replace the older aircraft in its fleet, made up largely of B737 classics with the Boeing 737 MAX and the Embraer E195-E2 in addition to the eight E145, which provides service to low passenger traffic airports.

“We are not phasing out our Boeing aircraft, part of our business plan is that as we are getting the brand new planes, we would be phasing out the old ones, but remember that we are bringing in brand new Boeing 737 Max. We are still a member of the Boeing family; we may have to phase out any ageing Boeing aircraft in our fleet,” Onyema declared.

According to Onyema, presently, about 20 of Air Peace aircraft are in maintenance facilities overseas and some of them are expected to start coming back soon even as he attributed the delay in the delivery of the aircraft to the COVID-19 lockdown, which he said forced maintenance facilities to stay off work.

His word: “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 about 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 equally identified the paucity of dollars as another challenge affecting the aviation sector seriously saying “every transaction we do is in dollars. We have not been able to discharge our obligations to foreign maintenance organisations because you need dollars to give them. We have the naira but to get dollars is difficult.

The CBN has been trying for us and we understand the plight that it is not the fault of the government but we are pleading that we should be able to access forex more easily.

“The existing planes we took for maintenance abroad will be coming in by June and we would fill the country with our planes. The economy section of our new aircraft is like the business class of other airlines. I’m a nationalist and I believe in this country; that’s why I want the best planes for Nigerians.”

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