By Lawani Mikairu
Air peace airline has decided to surprise the travelling public as it deployed wide-bodied Boeing 777 aircraft for domestic operations on the Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt routes during the Easter period. This is a surprise development to the travelling public as Boeing 777 aircraft are used for international long- haul flights.
It will be recalled that Air Peace recently acquired four Boeing 777 aircraft for its long-haul operations to Sharjah, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai. Three of the wide-body aircraft have so far been delivered to the airline in readiness for its soon-to-start international operations.
Confirming the deployment of the aircraft, Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah said the airline decided to deploy its Boeing 777 aircraft at Easter to “give Nigerians and the travelling public a taste of the luxury to expect on our international routes starting soon. The deployment of our beautiful big birds, the Boeing 777 on our domestic routes this Easter begins with our Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt services on Easter Friday and Monday.
“Although our decision to deploy our wide-body aircraft on the domestic routes has huge financial implications for us, we are pleased to honour our pledge never to spare anything in giving our esteemed customers an exceptional feel of air travel experience”.
According to him, “in the next few days, we will be announcing a firm date for the commencement of our international operations. We plan to operate long-haul flight services to Sharjah, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai. We are set and ready to give Nigerians, Africans and the flying public a reliable alternative on our chosen international routes. But we are pleased to give our loyal customers on the domestic routes a foretaste of our long-haul offering. It sure will be a memorable experience starting with our Port Harcourt-Abuja and Abuja-Port Harcourt services on Easter Friday and Monday.”
Iwarah also revealed that the flight would depart Port Harcourt for Abuja at 10.45 a.m. and return to Port Harcourt at 12.30 p.m. on Good Friday. The Easter Monday operations, it added, would take off from Port Harcourt at 8.30 a.m., with a return flight at 10.45 a.m.
This is not the first “ surprise” the airline is pulling on aviation stakeholders and passenger in Nigeria and West Africa. Air Peace recently placed a firm order for 10 brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft. The order comprises purchase rights for a further 20 E195-E2 jets. The deal makes Air Peace the first to order the brand of jets in the whole of Africa, thereby becoming the official launch customer of the brand of aircraft in Africa.
The carrier also set a regional record in September 2018 when it ordered 10 brand new aircraft from Boeing, increasing its fleet size then to about 37 aircraft. With the new order, Air Peace’s fleet size has increased to 67 aircraft.
Shortly before the firm order for 10 brand new aircraft from Boeing, Air Peace set a domestic record as the first Nigerian airline to acquire and register the Boeing 777 aircraft in the country. Three of the four wide-body aircraft it acquired for its long-haul operations to Dubai, Sharjah, Johannesburg, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai have so far been delivered.