History was reshaped on 28th January, 2021. West cum Central African fastest growing indigenous airline, Air Peace Airline, brought in the first of its brand new E195-E2 airplanes into Nigeria’s airspace. The E195-E2 aircraft is the first of this brand in Africa. In 2019, Air Peace Airline made a firm order of 13 brand new E195-E2 jets and Purchasing Right order of 17 aircraft of the same brand, from Brazilian aerospace conglomerate, Embraer, making it a total of 30 brand new E195-E2 airplanes that will soon dominate Nigerian sky—and beyond.
These 30 new aircraft when fully delivered, have the capacity to create tens of thousands of jobs. What a revolution in the aviation industry!
After the media frenzy that greeted the arrival of this new model of jet and its well-publicised unveiling by Air Peace Airline, I have observed that the media is yet to fest adequately on this landmark development that has the propensity and potential to change the face of Nigeria’s aviation sector, positively. I am yet to see the editorials, columns, commentaries and analysts dissecting the magnitude of impacts these new 13 E195-E2 airplanes will create in the nation’s aviation industry in particular, and Africa in general. When there are news of killings, job losses or ethno-religious rivalry in the country, it trends for weeks—fueling tensions, anxieties and despondency. But when positive ones occur, the opposite appears to be the case.
This is really sad. When great strides, as done by Air Peace Airline, happens, the media tend to play it down quickly as a “private business affair”. The media sees every limelight given to such unparalleled achievement like this as “commercials”; thereby making it more expensive to promote things that help our economy; give hope to the jobless, attract investors and edify the image of Nigeria abroad. This is one of the major banes of Nigeria age-long underdevelopment and insufferable stagnation. We should thrive to promote positivity and play down the negatives. It is time to redefine standard and turn the tide.
To have 13 brand new E195-E2 airplanes, with single capacity of 124 passengers, for each of the aircraft, injected into already struggling aviation industry, should be a national milestone that should dominate headlines for weeks. Bringing these large number of new planes in the midst of a ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, weak infrastructure and recessed economy, can be likened to winning an Olympic gold medal in the midst of scorching winter with a broken leg. It deserves more than a standing ovation! It is not only heroic or courageous but undoubtedly inspiring. Air Peace Airline should be celebrated for blazing this trail at an auspicious moment like now.
Chief Allen Ifechukwu Onyema, the chief executive officer and chairman of this promising Airline that has become pride of West Africa, has increasingly proven that businesses, organisations and nations rise and fall on leadership. Leadership is everything. It is only an eagle that soars in the storm. One great attribute that differentiates eagle—the king of the sky, from other birds is that, while other birds perceive storm as challenging; the eagle sees it as an opportunity to soar to greater heights. It is not a coincident that Air Peace ably led by this aviation maven, Onyema, chose eagle as part of its logo. Air Peace is soaring in the storm! Chief Onyema has not hesitated to reiterate that he ventured into aviation industry for one sole reason—job creation!
Imagine the ripple effects these 13 brand new E195-E2 airplanes will have in the economy. According to aviation experts, these jets will create, cumulatively, eight thousand jobs! just reflect on what it is like taking eight thousand jobless Nigerians out of the street. For every Nigerian employed, at least, five of his or her family members have been taken care of—then multiple eight thousand by five; that gives you forty (40,000) thousands lives lifted out of extreme poverty—just by the ingenuity of an Airline that synchronized its organizational vision with patriotism. When 40,000 Nigerians are pulled out of extreme poverty; imagine the cascading positive effects on the economy and security situations in Nigeria.
You can see why I am still puzzled that the media is yet to fest on this ongoing revolution in the aviation industry. God forbid, if it happened to be an aeroplane crash that occurred on 28th January, 2021; the media, Nigerian public—even international media would have dwelled on the story for the next six months. But the purchase and subsequent delivery of thirteen new jets of tested brand like E195-E2 aircraft have made the nation’s aviation industry safer, competitive, and attractive to both Nigeria’s flying public; local and foreign investors. With the delivery and Purchasing Right, cumulatively, of thirty (30) brand new E195-E2 airplanes, Air Peace Airline, has become one of the fastest growing airline in sub-Saharan Africa.
Being the first airline in Africa to receive E195-E2 aircraft and the second highest purchaser of this brand—with 30 aircraft listed against its name in the record of Embraer, coming after Lufthansa Airline with 35 aircraft, Air Peace has started lobbying Embraer and Brazilian authorities to have a Maintenance, Repairs and Overhaul (MRO) hub set up in Nigeria to service the aviation industry in the entire Africa. If this idea cum proposal is birthed into reality, there will be Embraer facility built specifically for aircraft servicing in the country—making Nigeria the aviation melting pot in Africa.
This will save Nigerian indigenous airlines millions of dollars spent annually to ferry aircraft abroad for maintenance, thereby increasing lifespans of indigenous airlines; quality of their services and general safety in the sector. Thousands of more jobs will be created for our teeming youths and, most importantly, the attendant technology transfer will strengthen our aviation sector the more. Imagine other airlines across the continent sending in their airplanes to Embraer facility in Nigeria for servicing.
This is the real positive revolution that Air Peace Airline, under the exemplary and pragmatic leadership of Chief Allen Onyema, has ignited in the industry. The 13 brand new planes, when fully delivered will serve as a huge boost to the noble ambition of Air Peace Airline to competitive favorably in the international routes, with legacy airlines like British Airways, American Airlines, EasyJet, Delta, Lufthansa, Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Ethiopian Airline, etcetera. Nigerian flying public will be the highest beneficiaries of new frontiers, because Air Peace will ensure that Nigerians get value for their monies.
Nwobodo writes from Abuja and can be reached at email@example.com