Air Peace announced this week that it has been made Nigeria’s official flag carrier, chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema revealed at the Enugu Economic Summit and spoke to CNBC Africa about the journey he underwent to make it happen.
“The government and the flying public created a yearning gap, all the agreements in this country is tilted to one side, the foreign airlines but this government of Muhammadu Buhari has started to do things differently – recognising the local airlines and seeing that in Air Peace there is a lot of quality, so they decided to give us – when we applied it didn’t take time before they gave it to us,” said Allen Onyema, Chairman of Air Peace.
Which Onyema says goes against the usual way Nigeria operates where you need to know somebody to get somewhere.
“I made the application, they made their investigations and they know what Air Peace stands for, so it was very easy for the government to give us the permit to fly as a flag carrier for the country.”
He adds: “I’m going to create a hub of a kind that has never been formed in this country and I am going to use my domestic airline to service the hub.”
This carrier also helps the many Nigerian businessmen that have business in China who have had to spend more than necessary by taking connecting flights to London, Paris and Amsterdam before they can get to China.
“There is no other airline doing China direct, this is the first time any airline for the whole of [the] West African sub-region and central Africa will have a direct flights to China – we saw that gap and we decided to plug it,” he said.
Onyema says as someone from the South East, he has to make sure he gives back to his motherland which is why he started this venture.
“At times, businesses are guided by the motives behind those businesses, I didn’t come all out because of profit, I just wanted to create jobs but at the same time, I don’t want to lose my investments.”
He encourages others in the region to take advantage of the opportunity and prepare for the influx of people.
“The airport has the capacity, they are building a new international terminal so I think it has the capacity to do it, to carry, [this] traffic but now it’s time for them to start looking at the hotels they have, try to improve them.”
According to Onyema, the airline will operate five international routes including China, USA, and UAE.