Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has said that Nigeria’s biggest air carrier, Air Peace, has emerged the most patriotic airline in Nigeria’s history.
The governor stated in a goodwill message to the carrier, which will start intercontinental operations July 3, with a direct flight to Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
Obiano in the statement released Friday in Awka, said: “The patriotic streak is reflected in all it has been doing from inception in 2014 including charging less than N200,000 for an economy seat and a mere N650,000 for the business class to fly for almost eight hours to the United Arab Emirates.
“Yet”, noted the statement signed on behalf of the Anambra State government by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr C. Don Adinuba, “this is no budget airline, as it will provide all international passengers with all the frills and entertainment available on the best global airlines.
“The highly competitive fares couldn’t have come at a better time considering that we are in summer, which is a high season, when air carriers even double their fares because of the high passenger volume”.
Noting that Air Peace had acquired brand new Boeing 777 planes for the long hauls, the only Nigerian carrier to acquire this state of the art equipment, Obiano, observed that “it shows that the airline is competing with the greatest carriers in the world on both quality and price, the best business strategy anywhere”.
The governor praised the carrier for deploying three planes on international routes, contrasting it with the earlier practice where indigenous airlines used only one plane for intercontinental operations.
“The preceding indigenous carriers could not compete effectively with their international rivals because anytime their lone long-haul machine ran into a problem, their passengers would be stranded”, Chief Obiano pointed out.
He also commended Air Peace for being the first airline to commence international operations from Sam Mbakwe Cargo International Cargo Airport in Owerrri, Imo State, in addition to operating flights from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Kano International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport as well as Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.
“No foreign airline has this record of service to the Nigerian people, nor has any indigenous carrier.
“What many Nigerians may not know is that commercial interest or profit making was not one of the factors which led Barrister Allen Onyema, a worthy indigene of Anambra State, to register Air Peace in 2013, but sheer patriotism.
“He was alarmed at the army of unemployed youths in the country and the lack of employment prospects for thousands of Nigerian graduates churned out of high schools, colleges of education, polytechnics, monotechnics and universities annually, plus those who graduate from foreign institutions.
“He was also appalled at the treatment Nigerians were receiving at the hands of foreign airlines, including charging them exorbitantly for inadequate services.
“It is a thing of pride that Air Peace now has over 3,000 Nigerians on its staff and about 8,000 others employed indirectly by it, even though it started operations only five years ago,” Obiano continued.
Air Peace operates about 100 flights daily with 27 aircraft.
It made history last September 14 when it signed an agreement with Boeing in the Lagos residence of the United States consul general to purchase 10 brand new planes from the world’s largest plane manufacturer.
It will later in the year start to fly to the United Kingdom, United States, India, China and South Africa.