Air Peace, Boeing sign $1.1bn aircraft acquisition deal
Nigeria’s largest carrier, Air Peace on Thursday signed multi-million dollar pact with US aircraft manufacturer, The Boeing Company, to buy 10 new B737 Max aircraft.
The agreement was signed at the United States Consulate in Lagos by the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Mr Allen Onyema and Boeing Sales Director for West and Central Africa, Mr Larry Tolliver.
A unit cost of the aircraft is $113m (N40bn), it was learnt but the CEO disclosed that Boeing was generous enough to have reduced the amount after series of negotiations.
With the expected delivery of the new aircraft, the fleet of the airline would increase to 37 in four years of the airline’s operation.
Onyema speaking with journalists after the signing said: “We have just signed an order for 10 B737 aircraft from Boeing. We are interested in creating employment for our people because one of the aircraft can create 500 jobs.
“We are trying to curb insecurity by creating job opportunities for our people. Air Peace currently has about 3,000 employees and I believe that is part of our contribution to national development.”
Onyema lauded President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for the support given to Nigerian airlines to thrive appealed to the government to find ways of establishing local refineries to reduce the high cost of aviation fuel.
Also, the US Consul General, Mr John Bray, said the agreement between both companies would further deepen the relationship between Nigeria and the US.
Bray said it was a win-win situation for both countries because the deal would create about 3,000 jobs in Nigeria while about 5,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector would be created in the US.
On his part, Tolliver said the B373 Max aircraft was the fastest aircraft manufactured by Boeing and consumes about 40 per cent less fuel than other Boeing aircraft currently being used by Air Peace.
The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the bank is supporting Air Peace because the airline had proven it can be trusted.