Loss Making Air Peace Eyes Weird Global Expansion

It’s possible more people know about Nigerian email scams than they do about private Nigerian airline, Air Peace. If you have heard about Air Peace then you might be interested to learn that in June the carrier will begin flight operations to Johannesburg, South Africa and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Air Peace B737
Air Peace is Nigeria’s largest airline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nigerian website awarenessng.com reports that Air Peace has grown rapidly since commencing flights in 2014. In fact, the carrier is now the largest airline in West Africa. With Wednesday’s announcement it appears as if the airline will retain its dominance in the West African aviation market.

Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, made the route announcement during the inauguration of the airline’s Board of Directors in Ikeja, Nigeria.

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The routes

Effective this June, Air Peace will be flying to Johannesburg, South Africa and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. However, we do not yet know the schedule for these flights.

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During the media event, Onyema also said that Dubai, London, Houston, Guangzhou and Mumbai would soon join the airline’s international route network. Furthermore, plans are being made to connect more cities within Nigeria.

Airline background

We’ve covered a fair amount of lesser known airlines here at Simple Flying. This includes newer ones like FlyBosnia and FlyArystan. However, Air Peace is no new airline as it was founded in 2013. Their website has some lofty goals and this latest move is a step further in achieving those goals. For example, the mission on their website states:

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“To expand locations both domestically and beyond as the largest and most profitable airline company to achieve safe, efficient, and affordable short and long haul services.”

The more you read about Air Peace, the more interesting it becomes. This certainly is not your standard carrier. While any business needs to be profitable to exist in the long run, profitability is not why the airline was came in to existence. In fact, Onyema’s reasoning for starting and expanding this airline are rather noble and altruistic:

“The reason I started Air Peace was to create employment opportunities for Nigerians and help in national development, because I know that all the violence and security challenges we are facing will reduce if our youths are positively engaged. I enjoin all Nigerians with means to invest in the country and help to create jobs to complement the efforts of the government,”

Air Peace 737
Air Peace has a large number of Boeing 737s in its fleet. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Not yet profitable

In the midst of these expansion plans is the simple fact that the airline has yet to become profitable. According to Onyema, Air Peace has lost over N1.2 billion ($3.3 million USD) in the last year just flying to coastal West African countries Africa such as Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia. He blames the loss on exorbitant charges:

“There is a gang up against Nigerian airlines. The Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM) is geared towards fleecing Nigeria and nothing more…Air Peace may soon go to court to ban some airlines from operating in Nigeria if the government fails to do something about this exploitation and unhealthy competition,”

Airline Fleet

For an airline you may have never heard of, Air Peace has a surprising fleet composition. Their fleet of 23 aircraft include a variety of older 737 aircraft but, most surprisingly, they also have four Boeing 777s – apparently acquired from Emirates.  Of the 20 aircraft on order, 10 are 737 MAX 8s while the other 10 are the new Embraer 195 E2 jets.

Some of Air Peace’s Boeing 777s are formerly leased and operated by Emirates airlines. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

So what do you think about these new routes? Will there be enough demand between Nigeria and cities like Houston and Sharjah to keep the airline profitable? Do you have any plans to fly on Air Peace? Let us know!

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