FOLLOWING Nigeria’s inability, over the decades, to adequately reciprocate most of its air services agreement, flag carrier, Air Peace has set the stage to close some of the gaps with its acquisition of four Boeing 777 aircraft and newly ordered Boeing 737-Max.
This is as the airline’s chairman, Allen Onyema has advised investors in aviation to not only stay true to their purpose but show accountability and integrity to get support from banks to fund their businesses.
Onyema made these known recently when he stated that its orders, the Boeing 737Max will be deployed to service routes including Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Sharjah, Jeddah from Abuja, Dubai from Kano as well as London from Enugu among others.
Onyema said,”On the international scene, why did we buy four 777? why did we order 10 brand new 737Max? You know the max has over 7000 nautical miles range. We brought all these equipment because we want to cover that gap that is making the government of the day worried and for people of this country.”
“Those 737Max, we don’t want Nigerians to fly through London to get to Amsterdam. We don’t want Nigerians to pay through their noses to get to their destinations Air Peace decided to bring these jets, the state-of -the- art Boeing 777 and brand new 737Max in other to do these destinations direct for Nigerians.”
“We want to start flying Lagos to Paris direct with those max, we want to deploy another max from Lagos to Frankfurt. We want to deploy the Max from Lagos to Amsterdam. We want to deploy it to Milan, we want to deploy it from Abuja to Jeddah. We want to do Kano to Dubai, we want to do Enugu-London with it and some days we use our triple seven to London through Lagos where majority of people travel.”
“So the triple sevens are made for the London route, US route because of its range, meant for China because of its range too and cargo. It is meant in some days to go to Johannesburg because of the traffic there too. Most of the work like Mumbai and others will be done by the 737Max which will take like 180 passengers. ”
“You are not going to go to Mumbai with full load of three hundred and seventy something that the 777 will carry so we decided to do that route with the 737Max. So what are we looking for again? An airline has emerged from this country to plug the gaps,” he said.
On how the airlines has so far achieved its business growth, the Air Peace boss attributed it to integrity, purposefulness and a sound business plan which the airline has followed to the letter.
He said,”Air peace growth to over 20 planes is not a sudden growth, it was planned, we have a business plan and we are following our business plan from inception till date. We have never deviated from our business plan. Part of the business plan was to make sure we establish integrity with the banks and we have done that 1000%. ”
“…Our growth was never sudden, it was planned since 2010. We told ourselves from year-four, year-five we will transit into buying new planes. Whatever number of planes we bought, those things were in our business plan. We never laundered money, never ploughs it into real estate. Whatever we are getting in aviation, we are putting it back in aviation and the banks are seeing the governance structure in Air Peace, seeing the Financial discipline they told you as much, the MDs of the banks told you themselves so we are asking government to go out there and do international politics for us.”
“The problem with Nigeria is that most people borrow money without any intention whatsoever to pay back, Air peace is different, we borrowed money when we wanted to float this airline, some from Zenith, majority from Fidelity and then my Equity. We made sure we paid off our loans. We’ve borrowed money from Fidelity to buy more than 10aircraft and fidelity told you how it was, that we honoured our obligation to the letter. ”
“We’ve never been found wanting for one day, other airlines have heard news of what Air Peace is doing with Fidelity and other banks and they’ve all keyed in.”
“…So the most important thing for fellow airline owners to know that bank money is not nobody’s money. Bank money is everybody’s money that should be taken care of. When you take money for business, please plough it into that purpose for which it was taken. If your business is for ten million borrow ten million don’t go asking for hundred million and then you overburden your business with a hundred million debt.”