In preparation for its international operation, Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, has taken delivery of its third Boeing 777-300 aircraft. This acquisition comes days after Air Peace defended its order of the B737-Max 8 aircraft which has been banned globally.
The Boeing 777-300 aircraft arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 3.20p.m on Wednesday. The aircraft, which has been christened “Anuli Peggy Onyema” has 374 capacity.
The Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, who was on the ground to receive the aircraft said Air Peace had taken delivery of its first and second B777 aircraft in February and August 2018 respectively – making the Boeing 777-300 aircraft (from Texas, USA), the third in the company’s fleet.
“WE THANK GOD THAT WE HAVE TAKEN DELIVERY OF THE THIRD B777 AIRCRAFT IN PREPARATION FOR OUR INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS.
“WE HOPE TO BEGIN OUR FLIGHTS TO DUBAI AND SHARJAH WITHIN THE NEXT TWO MONTHS. FROM THERE, WE WILL PROCEED TO JOHANNESBURG, MUMBAI AND GUANGZHOU IN THAT ORDER.”
Air Peace has received approval from the Federal Government to begin flights to six international destinations including: London, Dubai, Sharjah, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai, and Johannesburg. He added that one more aircraft was being expected before the end of the year to boost the airline’s international operations.
Impact of Air Peace operation on the economy: Onyema said that Air Peace had created 3,000 direct jobs and 6,000 ancillary jobs for Nigerians, stressing that the newly acquired B777-300 aircraft would create an additional 1,500 jobs.
Response to criticism over order of B737-Max8 aircraft
Despite the ban by various countries on the Boeing 737-MAX 800 jets following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines B737-Max8, which killed all 157 passengers on board, there’s a possibility the Nigerian airline operator will go ahead to add the Boeing 737-MAX 800 to its fleet.
Air Peace had stated that it has no intention to cancel the order the company made earlier last year. The company is expected to take delivery of the aircraft in 2023, but Nigerians have called on Air Peace to cancel the order.
Air Peace and the American aircraft manufacturer, had on September 13, 2018 signed agreement for the delivery of 10 brand new B737 MAX 800 aircraft.
In response, Onyema said it ordered for the embattled aircraft long before the technical issue arise because the plane was the toast of the global aviation industry, and it’s only normal for the company to align with such development.
“WHEN WE PLACED A FIRM ORDER FOR THE 10 BRAND NEW B737-MAX 800, IT WAS THE TOAST OF THE GLOBAL AVIATION INDUSTRY.
“WE WERE ONLY RESPONDING TO THE YEARNINGS THAT NIGERIA AIRLINES SHOULD BE FLYING MODERN PLANES.
“IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT AIR PEACE IS BEING CRITICISED FOR AN AIRCRAFT THAT WILL NOT BE DELIVERED UNTIL 2023.
“WE BELIEVE IT IS THE WORK OF OUR DETRACTORS, BUT WE WILL NOT BE DETERRED.”
Air Peace awaiting probe of Ethiopian Airlines B737-Max8 crash
Following safety concerns originating from the recent crash, a spokesman for the company, Chris Iwarah, said it is rather premature to start considering cancelling the orders. He said Air Peace will not take any action until investigation has been concluded on the Ethiopian Airlines B737-Max8 crash.