The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, had on Wednesday stated that the airline is yet to make any decision on the 737 Max orders until the outcome from the Boeing’s investigation.
Air Peace had in 2018 made orders for 10 B737 Max 8 aircraft to further expand the operations of the airline, but the order is not expected until 2023. The airline has since the Ethiopian Airline crash come under heavy criticism and backlash from the public, with majority calling for the cancellation of the order from Boeing.
Onyema noted that the order for the aircraft was placed before the crash involving Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines occurred and he didn’t understand why the public, including stakeholders in the aviation industry were attacking the airline.
While speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Onyema said, “Air Peace does not have the aircraft in its fleet, so I wonder why Nigerians are attacking the airline, while nobody had attacked the carriers that have the aircraft and are operating the equipment before the accident. The aircraft are billed to begin to arrive in Nigeria in 2023.
Speaking further he said, “We are not saying we are cancelling neither are we saying we are not cancelling because no airline that ordered for the aircraft had said it is cancelling. Everybody is waiting for the outcome of the investigation. What airlines that have the aircraft have done now is ground them until the result of the investigation comes out. And at the same time, countries are banning them from flying in their airspace until the investigation comes out.”
“We have 400 of these planes in active services none of these countries where these planes are operating had ever risen up against their airlines for buying these planes. Not even Ethiopia and Indonesia that had accidents with these planes, their citizens never attacked them. However, Air Peace that does not have the aircraft has been taken to the cleaners by Nigerians for what didn’t even concern us.”
He observed that many other aircraft that were introduced newly in the past also had hitches, which were later corrected.
“It was the dream of every airline to have a 737 Max 8 or 9. So we joined other reputable airlines in the world to order. When we made this 10 firm orders, nobody applauded us. I didn’t see any excitement from Nigerians; that at last a Nigerian airline has started buying brand new planes, nobody did that.”
“But, when the aircraft was involved in accident, despite the fact that we don’t have the aircraft yet, some Nigerians started attacking us. What does that tell you?” Onyema queried.
Like other airlines that had placed order, he said the airline would wait for the outcome of investigations before taking a decision on the orders.