By Lawani Mikairu
Air Peace airline yesterday received it fourth brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft out of the thirteen it placed firm order for from Embraer aircraft manufacturing company. The first of the new aircraft was received in January, 2021 by the airline.
The aircraft with registration number 5N- BYI, christened Kingsley Chwukuma Onyema touched down at the Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 2 pm and was welcomed with the traditional water cannon by officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN , fire service.
Speaking during the ceremony at the conference hall of the Abuja airport, the Executive Chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema said in 2018, the airline decided that as part of its business plans it would start operating new aircraft. Though old aircraft are also good and safe , but new aircraft are more efficient.
Onyema said : ” Today we are receiving another aircraft straight from Brazil. We are supposed to have recieved more of these aircraft before now but the scarcity of dollar has delayed this. A lot of people do not give the 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 fleet 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 also said that , “Air Peace decided to go for these new aircraft in order to give Nigerians what they deserve and make them comfortable. Before the end of 2020, we will be bringing in additional three new aircraft to bring the number to 7. We want to make connectivity easy for Nigerians. We want to interconnect all cities in Nigeria so as to energize the country and provide jobs. This airplane can land where Boeing 737 cannot land because if it’s unique technology.”
The Air Peace boss also used the occasion to appeal to passengers to show more understanding as no airline wants to delay or cancel flights but may be forced to cancel flights as a result of safety.
While commending the civil aviation regulator, he said ,the ” kind of oversight function carried out by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on the Nigerian airlines are top notch.”
Also speaking at the event, the Director General, NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu said he is proud of what the Nigerian airlines are doing.
Captain Nuhu said : ” 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 environmental friendly. This is the way to go.”
” I believe with time, Air Peace will change all it’s fleet to newer ones.
Pre-covid, 10 to 12 million passengers passed through the country’s airports, which amounts to 10 percent of the country’s population. Airlines need to connect different parts of the country for trade, thereby contributing to the country’s GDP. The airline industry is growing and those surviving are expanding their fleet. I congratulate the chairman of Air Peace,” he added.