One month after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) lifted the ban on the Boeing 737 MAX, Nigeria’s Air Peace has confirmed it will still look to use 737 MAX aircraft as it upgrades its fleet. The airline placed an order for 10 737 MAX back in 2018 as part of a fleet regeneration plan.
Last month, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) confirmed that the troubled Boeing 737 MAX would be allowed back into Nigerian Airspace. The NCAA said it would work with Boeing and Nigerian airlines to ensure the type was fully-certified and complied with the FAA’s airworthiness directive.
Commitment to Boeing
Chairman and CEO of airline Air Peace, Allen Onyema, has now confirmed that with the MAX recertified, the airline will remain committed to bringing 737 MAX 8s into its fleet. The airline plans to replace its aging fleet with the new 737 MAX and new Embraer E195- E2. The airline confirmed its commitment as it took delivery of its second E195-E2.
According to local media outlet AllAfrica.com, Onyema said,
“We are not phasing out our Boeing aircraft, part of our business plan is that as we are getting the brand-new planes, we would be phasing out the old ones, but remember that we are bringing in brand new Boeing 737 MAX. We are still a member of the Boeing family; we may have to phase out any aging Boeing aircraft in our fleet,”
Air Peace and Boeing have not yet announced a timeline for the delivery of the ten MAX on order, but the airline is keen to start receiving new aircraft. Currently, 20 planes from its fleet are in maintenance overseas. Onyema confirmed that travel restrictions and local lockdowns mean work on the aircraft has been delayed and is taking longer than planned.
However, once the work is completed, the airline will be looking to replace the older aircraft and look forward to recovery. Currently, the airline is working to a schedule that would see all aircraft fully-checked and serviced and back in the air by July.
The new Embraer and Boeing aircraft will be used to facilitate the airline’s growing network of both domestic and long-haul routes. Air Peace has a strong network both domestically and across much of western Africa. Now, it is looking to expand from its Lagos hub to connect to Europe and potentially North America.
The airline showed it was ready to start operating more long-haul, international routes during the pandemic when it operated repatriation flights to several destinations, including London, Jamacia, and China. With the new Boeing 737 MAX on the way and more Embraer aircraft, Air Peace looks set to take its expansion to the next level.
What do you think of Air Peace’s fleet overhaul? Do you think they will launch more long-haul routes soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.