Chairman/CEO of Air Peace Airline, Mr. Allen Onyema, has said the airline had taken a decision to wait for the outcome of ongoing investigations by accident investigators on recent crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia involving the Boeing 737MAX before it could take delivery of 10 of its kind ordered from Boeing Corporation in 2018.
Onyema noted that all the airlines that had ordered the aircraft prior to recent crashes that none has cancelled its order and that they were all waiting for the conclusion of investigations.
Onyema, who spoke with aviation reporters in Lagos, lamented attacks on Air Peace by Nigerians for ordering the aircraft for use in the country.
He wondered why Nigerians were not attacking the airlines that have the aircraft and are operating it into the country before the accidents.
The Air Peace CEO frowned at the behaviour of some Nigerians who mischievously created the impression that the airline already had the aircraft in its fleet even when the order it made would begin to arrive in 2023 and said that the airline was disappointed at the reaction of some of these Nigerians.
Said Onyema: “Before we ordered B737MAX, it was not involved in any accident. In fact, that is the fastest selling plane under the sun. It is the most sought after plane in the world. 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 aircraft 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 asked.
Onyema said Air Peace was also waiting like other airlines that made orders for the Boeing MAX8 aircraft for investigators to determine what could be wrong with the aircraft and he appealed for understanding and support from Nigerians.
“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,” said Onyema.
“Everybody is waiting for the outcome of the investigation. What airlines that have the aircraft have done now is to 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.
“Ethiopians have never up to this moment attacked Ethiopian Airlines that bought this aircraft. South West Airlines has so many of these planes. No country has ever attacked those who innocently purchased these planes and who are already using them.
We have 400 of these planes in active service, none of these countries where these plane 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,” Onyema added.