Greatness is a recycle of excellence. If it can be conceived, it can be achieved. In the spectrum of life, the bridge between one end of an idea and the other end of accomplishment is sheer resilience epitomized in eagle-eyed vision and laced with grace. Air Peace Airline under the leadership of Chief Allen Onyema has increasingly demonstrated these unparalleled attributes amidst strangulating operating environment.
When this airline debuted in Nigeria’s aviation industry few years ago, some Nigerians received the news with mixed feelings—not because of anything associated with Air Peace, but as a result of repeated failures witnessed in the industry in the past. Many of the airlines that graced the limelight with pomp and circumstance, exited even before the euphoria of their launching could die.
The import of serial failings of indigenous airlines over the years meant that some Nigerians developed pessimism towards the possibility of having a reliable airline that would not fail like others. This mental fatigue occasioned by disappointment created by several defunct airlines, was almost metamorphosing into a stronghold until Air Peace Airline entered the fray and stemmed the tide. Chief Onyema, with fear of joining the bandwagon of failed airlines and faith of succeeding—all raging in his mind – was determined to make a difference.
Chief Onyema and group of technocrats in the Air Peace went to the drawing board to ascertain why indigenous airlines failed repeatedly in the past to cross a certain threshold in the aviation industry. They discovered that, some of the defunct airlines did not have medium and long-term goals of increasing their fleet of aircraft, lack of maintenance culture and purposeless leadership, coupled with near-zero ease-of-doing-business in the sector. These are some of the factors that hindered growth of most indigenous airlines in the past.
After the diagnosis cum prognosis on why Nigerian airlines fail easily vis-a-vis the way forward, Air Peace drafted ambitious fleet expansion as part of its core vision. While aviation regulations stipulated not less than three aircraft as part of the requirements for floating an airline, Air Peace hit the ground running with seven aircraft. Since then, it has expanded its fleet to more than 25 airplanes—with three jumbo-sized jets as part of the package. The hunger to grow in size and might keep getting intensified.
In 2019, the airline ordered 13 E195-E2 jets from Brazilian aerospace conglomerate, Embraer. Three of these expected brand new planes will arrive Nigeria before the end of this December. The remaining ones will be hitting the nation’s airspace anything from first quarter of 2021. E195-E2 aircraft is a narrow-body aeronautic sophistication, with 124-seater arrangements, premium cabin configuration, other exceptional makeup. Air Peace is the first airline in Africa to add this type of brand of aircraft to its fleet.
This great milestone on the part of Air Peace is worthy of celebration by all and sundry because the airline, as the biggest indigenous carrier, is presently our de-facto national carrier. And any of its successes, automatically translate to the country. What this means is that there will be more aircraft—brand new ones for that matter, in the aviation industry to provide quality services to the teeming mobile public. It will increase the capacity of the airline to feed its recently launched international routes—including the ones that will be launched soon.
It will ease traffic, especially at this yuletide period that more Nigerians have opted to fly instead of using the road as a result of insecurity, vehicular accidents and chaotic traffic on the highways. More job opportunities will be created for Nigerians—more pilots and air hostesses will be required. Most importantly, Air Peace has skillfully and relentlessly avoided the landmines of overburdened and non-serviced aircraft. Limited number of aircraft has been the bane of indigenous airlines—because with limited jets, airlines will be reluctant to take some of their aircraft due for maintenance abroad. Once few of their jets pack up, that will be the beginning of the end of the airline.
Air Peace’s ascendancy to greater heights, in the last few years, has ignited optimism in the nation’s airspace. Onyema has stated countlessly that his ultimate goal is to provide world class flight services, create opportunities, and prove that a Nigerian airline can reckon with other aviation leviathans like British Airways; American Airline, Lufthansa, Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Ethiopian Airline, etc.
He is taking after aviation tycoons like Richard Brandon of Virgin Atlantic. What Tim Cook of Apple Inc., Elon Musk of Telsa, etc., have done by building these companies into global brands is exactly what Onyema is working hard to make out of Air Peace Airline via its ambitions fleet expansion.
Chidiebere Nwobodo, firstname.lastname@example.org