Air Peace, West Africa’s largest airline, yesterday placed a firm order for five Embraer E175 aircraft.
This strategic decision marks a significant step forward and is in alignment with Air Peace’s ongoing strategy of modernising its fleet.
This acquisition is in line with Air Peace’s determination to become the operator of the largest and youngest fleet of aircraft in Africa.
It reinforces Air Peace’s commitment to enhancing its domestic and regional network connectivity and paves the way for further regional expansion, the airline said.
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Deliveries of the 88-seat aircraft start in 2024, according to the airline with the value of the order, at list price, worth US$288.3m (over N226bn at N785 to a dollar).
The order was signed during the 7th African Aviation Summit and Exhibition in Abuja.
Already an operator of Embraer’s newest and largest jet, the E195-E2, these smaller aircraft will complement the airlines’ existing fleet, allowing Air Peace to dynamically match capacity to demand, protecting yields and route viability.
The Chairman and CEO of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, said: “This is another important step in helping to realise our ambition to connect the whole of Nigeria with the entire African continent, while also feeding passengers into long-haul flights from our Lagos hub.
“The acquisition enables us to continue delivering on our ‘no-city-left-behind’ initiative – connectivity is what our passengers, and Africa, demand. The deal also paves the way to establish local maintenance capabilities in Nigeria, with direct support from Embraer.”
Meanwhile, as part of the summit’s fallout, Air Peace also signed an agreement with Embraer to establish a maintenance centre with Embraer. Onyema speaking on the MRO lauded the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, for his initiative of ensuring fleet growth is matched with inward investment in maintenance support.
The minister was said to have mandated airlines acquiring aircraft to also work with the Original Equipment Manufacturer to set up a maintenance facility locally to service the aircraft in order to reduce the capital flight out of Nigeria.
Onyema said: “The Honourable Minister has just scored a first in just a month of being appointed. He called me two weeks ago and said, going forward, any Nigerian airline that wants to bring in brand new planes must also think of maintenance responsibility for those planes in-house and within Nigeria.
“He made it compulsory that if you are going into the acquisition of more than 20 aircraft, you must show evidence that the OEM is also going to support the setting up of a maintenance centre in Nigeria for the local maintenance of such planes and for third parties too because you know the amount of billions we export outside the country for doing maintenance.
“Part of the things signed today is the setting up of a maintenance capability in Nigeria. We are going to have a maintenance centre in Nigeria with Embraer’s support. That will be set up in due course, so that all these fleets of Embraer jets will be maintained in Nigeria.”
Onyema commended the Director NCAA, Captain Musa Nuhu, for the regulator’s top-notch oversight over the years making Nigerian skies the safest in the world, adding that “whatever thing you hear to the contrary is as a result of stigmatisation because of the money they get from insurance out of us”.