After almost eight years of operation in Nigeria’s aviation sector, Air Peace is now a leading light and pacesetter for other industry players to emulate. Established in 2013, Air Peace provides passenger and charter services across the major cities of Nigeria and flies to several West African destinations, as well as the Middle East.

The airline currently has 28 fleets of aircraft. 8 Embraer ERJ-145, 3 Embraer E195-E2, 2 Boeing 777-300, 5 Boeing 737-500 and 8 Boeing 737-300 and 1 Boeing 777 200ER planes. The airline which began operations with just Dornier 328s and Boeing 737s now have the largest market share in the domestic airline market in Nigeria.

In more efforts to solidify its frontline position in Nigeria’s aviation sector, Air Peace recently received two more brand new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft and began conducting test flights for the last Thursday in preparation for deployment into service. The airline had earlier in January taken delivery of its first Embraer 195-E2 aircraft. It is now the first operator in Africa to purchase the brand-new jet, as against the trend of opting for fairly-used planes. It made a bid for 30 of the aircraft, slightly behind Lufthansa globally, which ordered 35.

Air Peace acquisition of the fleet is even more commendable, given the devastating economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses.  Spokesperson of the indigenous carrier, Stanley Olisa, who disclosed over the weekend that the airline had already began conducting test flights for the new aircrafts, told newsmen that one of the aircraft was flown empty from Lagos to Owerri, Abuja, and Port Harcourt for familiarisation.

Olisa hinted that test flights to other destinations would continue, adding that in no time, the planes would commence scheduled flights, offering a superior travel experience to customers.

He disclosed that the third brand new E195-E2 aircraft would be joining the fleet soon, adding that the airline’s fleet expansion is driven by the commitment to satisfy the air travel needs of Nigerians. The operation of test flights by newly acquired aircrafts, is a regulatory requirement that must be met before the aircraft is deployed for regular scheduled operations.

Speaking on the arrival of its latest fleet, Air Peace CEO, Allen Onyema noted that the airline would not pay VAT and Customs duties on the new planes, describing it as a big financial relief. He expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and the National Assembly Committees on Aviation, for facilitating the passage of the waiver to airlines, adding that the 13 aircraft would create 8,000 jobs for Nigerians.

“It is also great that we will be the first E2 operator on the African continent. We already have the ERJ145s in our fleet. So, we understand the high standards of Embraer products.

“The E195-E2 aircraft will strengthen Air Peace’s drive to deploy the right kinds of planes to under-served and unserved domestic and regional routes under its no-city-left-behind project.

“The minister threw us the challenge to acquire new aircraft. That is what we have achieved today. The brand new aircraft made it a great day for Nigeria. Those aircraft will create at least 8000 additional jobs. That is my joy. At the two-week interval, more aircraft will start arriving in Nigeria,” the Air Peace boss said.

Describing the specifications of the aircraft, the President/CEO, Commercial Business Aviation, Embraer, Mr. Arjan Meija, said the newest aquisition tagged ‘Profit Hunter aircraft’ will help Air Peace achieve its ambition of connecting Nigeria with the whole of the African continent, while feeding long-haul flights from their Lagos hub.

“Air Peace is also the first airline to configure a premium cabin with our staggered seat option. Each of the 12 Business Class seats is slightly offset from the other to give more space and privacy. There are three rows of seats arranged two-by-two at 51-inch pitch at the 124 seater aircraft. Passengers by the windows have unobstructed access to the aisle; they don’t need to awkwardly step over their seatmates or ask them to move.

“The new 124-seat E2s complement the airline’s eight 50-seat E145s flying with Air Peace Hopper. The Embraer fleet will create greater regional and domestic connectivity from the carrier’s Lagos hub,” he said.

On his part, Nigeria’s aviation minister, noted that Air Peace’s stride is in tune with the aviation roadmap of the current administration to encourage airline operators to try out new aircraft, while he commended Air Peace for heeding the call, adding that it was the right way to go for a modern commercial carrier that wants to survive, endure and compete in the sector.

“We must never forget that the propensity to fly is determined by the price of the ticket, and in turn the choice of equipment. The equipment type determines the profitability and sustainability of operations. There is no way an airline that has invested in the wrong equipment can compete with one that has new aircraft. A new aircraft is fuel-efficient, requires minimal maintenance, the low workload on pilots and higher profit; all of which wrong equipment does not have.

“I will urge other operators to rethink their type of equipment for sustenance, following the example of Air Peace. Air Peace has keyed into the sectorial roadmap of aviation and it is commendable,” Sirika said.

The E195-E2 aircraft with a seating capacity of up to 124 passengers, is the largest aircraft in the E-Jet E2 family. It has been designed to maximize returns and efficiency on high-density routes, with its high-aspect ratio wings and swept tips, combined with other aerodynamic improvements.

The aircraft is manufactured by Embraer, a global aerospace company headquartered in Brazil.

**Photo caption**

 One of the E195-E2 aircraft acquired by Air Peace

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