AIR PEACE has explained how a combination of COVID-19 and paucity of foreign exchange has affected its capacity, slowing down maintenance for its aircraft undergoing C-Checks and affecting the arrival of all its brand new aircraft.
Chairman of the airline, chief Allen Onyema who was speaking to reporters also explained that forex is a major reason the remaining brand new E195-E2 Embraer aircraft cannot come in as fast but promised with help from the Central Bank which has been a veritable partner some will come in in the next three weeks. READ MORE: Air Peace takes delivery of 2nd brand new Embraer jet, calls on customs to respect gazetted laws
Onyema said,”To be honest with you, these planes would have been received last year September but for paucity of dollars. We were not able to pay what they Call the delivery balance payment, payment done in delivery, some other payments have been made on all 13 planes but the day they are going to release the plane there are some balance you have to pay for those 13 planes, we found it difficult raising dollars.
“We had the Naira but we couldn’t get dollars. Central bank has been very helpful in our accessing dollars, we have been getting dollars in trickles so as we get dollars we get the planes, the planes are already there for us, 13 in number so as we pay the balance we get the plane.
“In the next three weeks another will come in, then June and July two more will come in, like that and we are going to deploy these new lane to the entire domestic arena of Nigeria, Air Peace will give Nigerian flying public brand new planes in the next one month at affordable rates.
He called on the CBN to assist the industry stating that although the industry is not the only one in need of forex, it is one which has all its components and operations attached to foreign currency especially as the country does not produce anything aviation. READ ALSO: Air Peace reaffirms interest in order for Boeing 737Max still intact
Onyema said,” Paucity of dollars of course it is not only aviation, it is everywhere. It is not the fault of anyone, the crude oil has not been selling the way it used to you don’t blame anybody. But it is affecting aviation because everything we do is in dollars. Even the minutest of things is not, nothing in the aircraft is manufactured in this country , not even the carpet you step on, everything is in dollars and it has affected us very seriously.
“We have not been able to discharge our obligations to foreign maintenance organisation’s because you need dollars to give them. It’s not as if we don’t have the Naira, we have the Naira but we cannot change it to dollars , it has been very difficult but the Central Bank has been trying for everybody but they cannot do more than what we have.”
“We are appealing that aviation I particular can be looked into, we understand the plight it’s not the government’s fault but if there is a way they can help us access dollars, cheaper and easily that would be very helpful. It is a special industry and any little thing can be catastrophic.” He said.