Air Peace, Nigeria’s leading air carrier, is leading Nigeria’s re-branding on the global stage, the Anambra State government has said.
In a recent statement in Awka, the state capital, the Anambra government noted that there “is no individual or organisation anywhere in the world helping as much as Air Peace to re-brand Nigeria in the comity of nations, starting with the global aviation industry”.
The statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, the state government cited the airline’s plans to commence operations into Mumbai, India, next month as “the latest brave effort by the firm to position the country strategically on the global scene”.
“All Nigerians are impressed by the fact that a few months after Nigeria and India signed a bilateral air service agreement (BASA), our own airline has taken far-reaching steps to make Nigerians benefit reasonably from the deal”, declared the state government which noted that, though 25 foreign airlines operate into the country, some from multiple destinations, Nigeria has been utilizing not more than 10% of its air agreements with other nations on account of limited capacity.
Air Peace began international operations last July 3 with direct flights into the United Arab Emirates, charging passengers from Lagos to Sharjah and Dubai about half of the fares by foreign airlines on the same route.
The airline, which commenced scheduled passenger flights in 2014 a year after incorporation, scored a bull’s eye on September 14, 2018, when it signed in the residence of the American consul general in Lagos a deal worth billions of dollars with Boeing Corporation to purchase 10 brand new planes from the world’s foremost aircraft manufacturing company which is based in Seattle, Washington State.
“Air Peace has proved to be an excellent Nigerian brand in the West African sub region where it has been operating successfully without any serious incident for the past six years,” Adinuba asserted in the statement.
If not for Air Peace, according to the Anambra State government, Nigeria “would have been getting next to nothing from its bilateral service agreements (BASAs) with 92 countries in all regions of the world”.
“Air Peace has enabled Nigeria to become recognized lately in global aviation,” said the state government, “unlike in the last few years when there was not one single indigenous air carrier able to compete strongly with foreign operators.
“Even the few indigenous airlines which ventured to operate on international routes were using only one wide-body aircraft each, which put them in a terrible position because any time there was a problem with the operating aircraft, it would affect their entire international operations which, in turn, affected their passengers awfully.
“In contrast, Air Peace acquired three Boeing 777 planes before starting international operations, and this has ensured that its international passengers are not stranded whenever any of its machines is not available for any reason.”
The statement quoted Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State as stating that “it is truly heartwarming that Air Peace uses the latest equipment in the aviation industry like the best foreign airlines, its pilots and other crew members are trained, skilled and experienced as those of foreign carriers and it services its planes in the same place as the leading international aviation firms, yet its fares are pocket friendly”.
Chief Obiano, according to Commissioner Adinuba, deplored the practice where foreign airlines force Nigerians travelling from Lagos or Abuja to London, a six-hour journey, to pay higher than those flying from Johannesburg in South Africa to London, which typically takes nine hours.
The governor lauded Air Peace for “its acute patriotism”, urging it to quickly draw a time table when it will start direct flights into London, Houston, Guangzhou and Johannesburg.
“Nigerians and other West Africans are waiting impatiently to fly Air Peace to these places because of not only the competitive fares but also its excellent safety record and the quality of its in-flight and ground services”.
Reiterating an earlier call to make the airline Nigeria’s flag carrier “instead of wasting time and funds by promoting another firm,” Governor Obiano remarked that “Air Peace has truly become an excellent Nigerian brand which is making every Nigerian proud”.