Air Peace Airline, on Thursday, signed a firm agreement with Boeing Corporation of the USA for the purchase of 10 of the latest Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The deal was sealed at the United States of America (USA) Consulate in Lagos between Mr. Allen Onyema, Managing Director/CEO of Air Peace and Mr. Larry Tolliver, Sales Director, West and Central Africa for Boeing.
Each of the Boeing 737 MAX cost about $113 million but the deal with Boeing comes with a package that has not only slashed the price by half, but also allows for easy access to spare parts and the training and retraining of pilots, engineers, and cabin crew of Air Peace.
US Consul General in Nigeria, Mr. John Bray, in his remarks after the signing of the aircraft order agreement said the US government took special interest in the deal given the immediate impact in assisting to ease Nigeria’s unemployment crisis.
“We are jointly working with the Nigerian government for the economy, especially to create jobs for citizens,” said Bray.
“There is an ongoing dialogue between Nigeria and the US for open skies and what we want to see is that Nigerian carriers qualify to fly the routes,” Bray added.
Air Peace CEO, Mr. Allen Onyema said each of the Boeing 737MAX aircraft had the potential to generate jobs for 500 people and that the 10 aircraft when delivered in few months will create additional 5,000 jobs in the aviation sector.
“We are joining the big league with this order for 10 Boeing 737MAX from Boeing, but the most important thing for us is the contribution we re making to create jobs,” Onyema said.
“We have made some payments to Boeing already and the aircraft will soon arrive the country. Boeing has given us a lot of incentives ranging from training, spare parts and other support worth millions of dollars to help us achieve smooth entry into the market. And we are happy that in few years, Air Peace will be adding another 5,000 jobs to the country’s aviation sector. We are not waiting for the government to do this for us. We want to do this by ourselves,” Onyema added.
On why the airline ordered 10 737 MAX aircraft, Onyema described the B737MAX as most fuel efficient aircraft noting that it cuts down fuel consumption by 20 per cent when compared to other aircraft. According to him, fuel accounts for 60 per cent of operational cost in Nigerian aviation sector and getting 10 aircraft with 20 per cent savings in fuel translates into a lot of gain for the company’s bottom line.
Onyema said that as at today, the airline owns 27 aircraft and with the acquisition of the new aircraft, the airline will now own 37 aircraft, and will facilitate the commencement of its international operations. He called on the Federal Government to support the airline in its quest to grow the industry and provide safe flight operations for Nigerians.