Air Peace has sealed a strategic partnership with Boeing, the world’s biggest aircraft maker, for acquisition of 10 new Boeing 737 MAX valued at $1.19 billion (N406.8 billion).

The airline announced the deal during a signing ceremony, witnessed by the United States Consul-General, Mr John Bray and Boeing’s Sales Director for West and Central Africa, Larry Tolliver.

The Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, was quoted as saying that the aircraft manufacturer offered company the 10 aircraft at more than three times below the actual cost, including incentives in terms of training, spares and other technical support for the new planes.

He said:“We are not paying anything near the cost price of the aircraft. We have 27 aircraft. With the addition of these ten, it will bring it to 37. We are the first airline in Nigeria to acquire this type of highly efficient aircraft for expansion of our operations”.

Speaking on decision to buy the planes, Onyema described the airplanes as very fuel efficient by over 40 per cent, stressing that aviation fuel otherwise known as Jet A1 is more expensive in Nigeria than elsewhere.

He urged the Federal Government to speed up resuscitation of many of the refineries which would reduce importation of jet fuel.

Onyema said: “Fuel takes 60 per cent of your operating cost in Nigeria but elsewhere it takes about 40 per cent. Fuel prices are very inconsistent in Nigeria. You can fly now and the price goes, for example, N200 per litres. By the time you land, it has again risen to N250 per litre.”

With the acquisition the new airplanes, the carrier’s fleet will increase to 37; just as the carrier plans expand its operations to cover international routes including the US, China and others.

The Boeing 737 MAX is an American narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation.

Boeing 737 MAX is an American narrow-body aircraft series designed and produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes as the fourth generation of the Boeing 737, succeeding the Boeing 737 Next Generation.

The American Consul General noted that another deal such as that would further strengthen the bilateral relations between the United States and Nigeria.

In his remarks, the Boeing boss explained that his company partnered Air Peace because of the track record of the airline and commitment to improving aviation not only in Nigeria but in Africa.

Tolliver explained further that the acquisition of the airplanes and by extension expansion of the carrier’s operations would enhance job creation of more than 3, 000 Nigerians, adding that the aircraft is “the fastest selling aircraft Boeing has ever had”.

The Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, one of Air Peace’s financiers, Nnamdi Okonkwo, recalled the strides the carrier had made in the last four years, saying that the bank believes in Onyema’s dream and for setting up a debt service account to settle its debt.