Air Peace yesterday took delivery of the fourth brand new E195-E2 aircraft ordered from manufacturers with three more to be added before year end as it intensifies plans to connect more states across Nigeria.
The aircraft, Kingsley Chukwula Onyema with registration marks 5N-BYI which arrived from the Embraer facility in Sao Jose Dos Campos, Brazil was welcome with a water canon salute at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema who was on ground with members and executives of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) said the aircraft were bought to further improve safety, save fuel, improve operational cost. He said the airline made firm order for 13 aircraft but that forex scarcity has delayed their arrival. Onyema explained that the airline was grappling with foreign exchange challenges and before aircraft would be delivered some payments have to be made.
He said Air Peace decided to go for brand new aircraft in order to give Nigerians what they deserve and make travelling easy for them by interconnecting all cities in Nigeria so as to energise the country and provide jobs, noting that the 195-E2 plane can land where Boeing 737 cannot land because if it’s unique technology.
“We have increased connectivity and additional destinations. We are doing Port Harcourt, Asaba –Kano, Benin-PortHarcourt. We have started Lagos-Douala and we are going to connect to other destinations in the West and Central Africa. 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 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 said.
Speaking on the recent flight delays and cancellations he said, “Airlines do not intentionally delay or cancel flights but this is as a result of COVID-19 challenges and the poor weather experienced across the country.