Air Peace, West Africa’s largest airline, has inked a transformative deal with the renowned aircraft manufacturer, Embraer Aerospace Corporation, to acquire a fleet of 10 state-of-the-art aircraft worth $300 million. This announcement was made at the grand Aviation Africa Summit and Exhibition held in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, which witnessed the gathering of industry stakeholders from across the globe, including Nigeria’s esteemed Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo.
Air Peace’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Allen Onyema, expressed his enthusiasm for the monumental acquisition, saying, “In line with our Air Peace Fleet Modernisation Policy, we’ve just signed a further acquisition, a further order of 10 E175 with a firm order for 5 and another 5 on purchase rights. That’s what we’ve just signed.” This acquisition marks a significant leap for Air Peace, pushing the airline’s order of Embraer planes to a total of 35, with 5 of them having already been delivered and operational in the country.
What sets this deal apart is the strategic partnership between Air Peace and Embraer to establish a cutting-edge maintenance facility in Nigeria. Keyamo, who played a pivotal role in shaping this alliance, mandated that any Nigerian airline acquiring more than 20 planes must demonstrate a commitment to maintain those planes within Nigeria. This directive was incorporated into the agreement, ensuring that Embraer will actively participate in setting up the maintenance center, with immediate implementation.
Onyema highlighted the far-reaching benefits of this decision, stating, “Part of the things we signed today is that Embraer is going to help set up the maintenance center in Nigeria, and it will be set up with immediate effect. So, this decision will help our national reserves and conserve the forex of airlines in Africa when this comes to fruition.”
Embraer, echoing Onyema’s sentiment, emphasized the significance of this collaboration for the airline’s growth, job creation, and investment. “The airline needs to grow. As the business moves forward, we need to work together, and the maintenance will create jobs and drive investment. And we will move forward with Air Peace to drive this growth,” stated an Embraer representative.
Minister Festus Keyamo, who made a surprise appearance at the event, underscored his commitment to supporting local operators in Nigeria’s aviation sector. “I’m here today deliberately even though it is a private initiative, a private company in Nigeria, but I’m here deliberately to show my support for the growth, sustenance, and survival of our local operators in Nigeria. I’m looking forward to any other private airline. If you reach any milestone and you are doing anything very important, invite me; I will also be there because I’m here for everyone,” Keyamo declared.
Furthermore, the minister emphasized his dedication to holding local operators to the highest standards, stating, “Whilst we fight for them, whilst we support them, I will hold them to the highest standards. We cannot support you, fight for you without reciprocal responsibility to the Nigerian people.”
According to Embraer, the first two aircraft from this remarkable order will be delivered towards the end of 2024. This monumental deal builds upon Air Peace’s previous acquisition of 30 Embraer 195-E2 aircraft in 2019, demonstrating the airline’s unwavering commitment to enhancing the aviation industry in the region. With this transformative agreement and the establishment of a cutting-edge maintenance facility, Air Peace is poised to revolutionize air travel in West Africa.