Nigeria’s leading airline operator, Air Peace recorded a landmark achievement in the country’s aviation sector by signing a $1.3 billion agreement with the American aircraft manufacturing company, Boeing for the purchase of ten new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The agreement was penned in the commercial nerve center of the country, Lagos in the presence of Mr John Bray, United States Consul General and top officials of Boeing and Air Peace.
The new deal will see Air Peace raise the bar in the aviation industry in Nigeria and West Africa at large. Upon the arrival of these new aircraft, the carrier fleet would rise to 37, a significant success which started operations in 2013.
Although the initial cost of each Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was estimated to be $113m (40 billion nairas), sources present at the meeting revealed the pact was an open-handed one which will see Air Peace acquire them at a lesser price. Air Peace has been pivotal in the rebranding of Nigerian aviation after entering at a point when passengers were losing hope in local carriers in Nigeria.
Headquartered in Lagos, Air Peace became the first Nigerian carrier to add to a Boeing B777-200 aircraft to its fleet in February before landing the second of its type to the companies growing fleet in August. The acquisition of the aircraft was followed by the announcement of new regional and international routes to support its operations in Nigeria.
Chief Executive Officer,Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, expressed his excitement while fielding questions from newsmen in Lagos. “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,” he said.
“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 continued.
The Boeing B737MAX first hit the skies in 2016 and was built to succeed the Boeing 737 Next Generation (NG). It is one of the most fuel-efficient aircraft and fast moving aircraft produced by the manufacturing giant.
According to the US Consular General, John Bray, its a ‘win-win’ deal for both Nigeria and the United States. The deal is expected to create thousands of jobs in both countries. While the US is expected to record a job increase in the manufacturing industry, Nigerian, in turn, will see more employment in its failing aviation sector. “We are jointly working with the Nigerian government for the economy, especially to create jobs for citizens,” said Bray.