The management of Air Peace says it has taken delivery of its first new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft from Brazil, and is expecting 30 more aircrafts.
Receiving the aircraft, which landed at about 2:30p.m at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Thursday, Allen Onyema, Chairman, Air Peace, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for making delivery of the plane possible.
Onyema called on the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, to establish maintenance, overhaul and repair (MRO) facilities in Nigeria.
He said Air Peace is the first African carrier to take delivery of the new Embraer 195-E2 aircraft type with 30 requests, including 13 firm orders and 17 purchase right orders, coming second to Lufthansa globally, which ordered 35.
Onyema disclosed that the airline would not pay Valued Added Tax (VAT) and Customs duties on the new planes, describing it as big financial relief.
The chairman said the challenge to acquire new planes was spurred by Aviation minister Hadi Sirika who challenged airlines to acquire new planes.
Onyema said the National Assembly Committees on Aviation facilitated the passage of the waiver to the airlines, adding that the 13 aircraft’s would create about eight thousand jobs for Nigerians.
Speaking, the Minister of Aviation described delivery of the aircraft as a right step in the right direction.
Sirika said the bold step by the airlines aligned with the Federal Government’s road map for the aviation sector.
He said the use of newer airplanes by Nigerian carriers would change the dynamics in airlines’ profitability and sustainability by driving down maintenance and fueling cost.
The new acquisition makes Air Peace the first airline to configure a premium cabin with the staggered seat option.
Each of the 12 Business Class seats is slightly offset from the other to give more space and privacy.
There are three rows of seats arranged two-by-two at 51-inch pitch at the 124 seater aircraft.
Passengers by the windows have unobstructed access to the aisle; they don’t need to awkwardly step over their seatmates or ask them to move,” he added.
The new 124-seat E2s complement the airline’s eight 50-seat E145s flying with Air Peace Hopper.
The Embraer fleet will create greater regional and domestic connectivity from the carrier’s Lagos hub.
Apart from the 13 195-E2s on firm order, Air Peace has purchase rights for 17 more of the aircraft according to Embraer, he said.
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