By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
A Nigerian carrier, Air Peace, has taken delivery of its third Boeing 777-300 aircraft in preparation for the airline’s commencement of international operations.
The 374 capacity aircraft, christened: “Anuli Peggy Onyema”, touched down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at about 3.20p.m on Wednesday.
The aircraft, from Texas, United States of America, was received by the Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema and other top aviation personnel.
Onyema told newsmen that Air Peace had taken delivery of its first and second B777 aircraft in February and August 2018 respectively.
He added that one more aircraft was being expected before the end of the year to boost the airline’s international operations.
According to him, the Federal Government has granted approval to Air Peace to begin flights to six international destinations, which are London, Dubai, Sharjah, Guangzhou-China, Mumbai and Johannesburg.
“We thank God that we have taken delivery of the third B777 aircraft in preparation for our international operations.
“We hope to begin our flights to Dubai and Sharjah within the next two months.
“From there, we will proceed to Johannesburg, Mumbai and Guangzhou in that order,” he said.
Onyema said that Air Peace had created 3,000 direct jobs and 6,000 ancillary jobs for Nigerians, stressing that the newly acquired B777-300 aircraft would create an additional 1,500 jobs.
He urged Nigerians and the Federal Government to continue to support the airline which was set up to put the country on the global aviation map.
The Air Peace boss maintained that safety remains a core policy of the airline which had outsourced its aircraft maintenance to two internationally recognised firms, BCT Aviation of Britain and Aero Space Industries of Israel.
On the recent air crash involving an Ethiopian Airlines B737-Max800 aircraft which killed all 157 people on board, Onyema said it was unfortunate that Nigerians were criticising Air Peace for ordering 10 aircraft of similar models.
“When we placed a firm order for the 10 brand new B737-Max 800, it was the toast of the global aviation industry.
“We were only responding to the yearnings that Nigeria airlines should be flying modern planes.
“It is unfortunate that Air Peace is being criticised for an aircraft that will not be delivered until 2023.
“We believe it is the work of our detractors, but we will not be deterred,” he said.
Also, the Chief Pilot of the aircraft, Capt. Stan Went, said that B777-300 was a delight for both pilots and engineers, saying it has a very good safety record.