In 2014, Air Peace took to the airspace in Nigeria. This move was 10 years after Arik Air launch, six years after Dana Air, and four years after Azman Air was floated.
However, eight years after launch, the Allen Onyema-owned airline has grown to become the leader of Nigeria’s aviation industry. A firm, which began operation as a domestic airline, is now rubbing wings with foreign air shuttles in the international airspace, serving as Nigeria’s flag-bearer in the absence of a national carrier.
Air Peace growing by the numbers
Air Peace didn’t start off on a conventional note like its domestic peers. The Nigerian aviation law offered airlines opportunity to start operation with at least three functional aircraft, Air Peace commenced flight operation with seven – but now greets the sky with 40 aircraft.
Among the 10 domestic airlines operating in Nigeria, the only brand new planes could be found in Air Peace’s aircraft fleet, operating brands like E2 from Embraer, Airbus A320, Boeing B737, Boeing B777, and more.
Prime Business Africa reports that, as Air Peace increased it aircraft numbers, so did the firm expand its routes as Onyema led the charge for Nigeria to secure a spot on global aviation market after being absent for many years.
Within eight years, in an industry with 10 domestic airlines – comprising IbomAir, Dana Air, Arik, Max Air, Aero, United Nigeria, Azman Airline, among others – Air Peace has become the nation’s gateway to the world.
While its domestic peers are still operating solely in the Nigerian territory, Air Peace has taken up the burden of airlifting Nigerians and foreigners to and fro Dubai, China, Johannesburg, and Israel, indicating a significant growth in the firm’s operations and revenue sources. In 2022, the airline reportedly operated 699 international flights, transporting 65,037 passengers.
As of 2019, Air Peace carried over 4.2 million domestic passengers, which saw Onyema’s firm account for 41.65 per cent of domestic market share.
The number of domestic flights operated in 2021 hit 17,861, with the closest being 9,551 flights by Ibom Air, while airlines that have been in operation long before Air Peace’s advent struggled to record above 10,000 flights. Dana Air reports 9360, Arik 9024, as Azman Air records 3921.
Despite its number of flights, Air Peace managed to keep its delayed flights at 55% of total flights, at 9900 flights, performing better than the likes of Arik with 57% delays, Max 60%, Azman 63% and more.
Air Peace operating beyond profit
Earning a turnover is not all that there is to Air Peace and Onyema, as the growth of the firm has led to 4,000 direct workforce and 9,000 indirect jobs.
Aside the job opportunities, the airline have not been found wanting in its corporate social responsibility (CSO), always present when Nigerians are in need of a rescue.
Following the xenophobic attacks experienced by Africans in South Africa in the second half of 2019, Air Peace offered to airlift Nigerians residing in the country, conveying 503 of them back to Nigeria for free – a trip that will normally cost over a hundred thousand of naira per seat.
A year later, Onyema’s company also provided aircraft to help Nigerians return home from the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, carrying them for $600, below the £2000 foreign airlines charged passengers for same hours of flight.
Due to his benevolence, Air Peace faced hostile reception in United Kingdom, as UK authorities were unhappy with Onyema’s decision. Sniffer dogs, according ton Onyema, were used to harass Air Peace’s pilots, and other passengers.
Considering his commitment to Nigerians, the need to ensure that Air Peace continues to thrive in a volatile market where others have failed or struggle to scale is of high importance to government.