What is surprising many Nigerians is how Air Peace grew within a space of five years to become Nigeria’s largest carrier with over 25 aircraft in its fleet and set international operations.
The airline, which started operation in 2014 with seven aircraft has not only increased its fleet but has also made firm order for Boeing and Embraer latest jets in accordance with its strategic growth plan, this investment complements the economic development efforts of the government.
Air Peace records a total of 90 flights a day and it is the airline that has the most connections to domestic destinations.
Two years after the airline started operations, it increased its fleet from seven to 13 and recently acquired six short-haul aircraft; Embraer ERJ 145 and four Boeing B777 for long haul destinations.
Today Air Peace has over 3,000 direct employees and has created over 6,000 indirect jobs for Nigerians.
The chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, said he was motivated to establish an airline because he wanted to create jobs and help in national development.
“I went into aviation to create jobs. I love touching lives,” Onyema said.
The airline has provided jobs to Nigerians from different parts of the country as pilots, engineers, members of cabin crew, ground staff, administrative personnel and many others
As the airline expands its operations, it continues to create jobs and as it adds another aircraft in its fleet, it creates more jobs.
The airline maintains a robust financial status and has over time, built integrity in international aviation circles because it always pays its bills whether to suppliers, insurers, aircraft maintenance companies and others.
The airline in April this year set a continental record with a firm order for 10 brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft. This made 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 the continent.
In order to ensure that the airline operates well-maintained aircraft, Air Peace engaged a maintenance company in the UK, BCT Aviation, which has been maintaining the aircraft in the airline’s fleet.
“Another thing I did was to outsource my maintenance to a British company so that I can assure the safety of my fleet. It is very expensive, it comes at a very high cost but I needed to do it. Another thing I decided to do was ensure our pilots must be very top notch; they must not be just any pilot. We must pay well to get the best, so that was what we did,” Onyema said.
So the airline’s fleet is well maintained that it has gained the confidence of air travelers who patronise it because of its efficient service. Within this short period, the airline has grown in the number of fleets.
As the airline has built integrity, banks are willing to partner with it and this has helped in the acquisition of a new fleet.
“The banks are there to support us. We want to reduce the cost of Nigerians flying abroad; Air Peace will give them what those legacy airlines are giving them and even better service at a very, very affordable cost. This is because Nigerians have been shortchanged for years now. Nigerians should look forward to Air Peace starting international operations. But we need government to support us. I am not asking government to give us money, we need government to make it easy for us to get to where we want to be,” Onyema said.
Airpeace deserves much kudos.
Ugonna writes from Abuja