Following a series of historic direct flights from Nigeria to China, India and Israel by Air Peace, Nigeria’s leading air carrier, the people of Anambra State have described the airline’s chairman, Allen Onyeama, as “Nigeria’s greatest unofficial ambassador whose preeminent role in Nigeria’s rebranding in the comity of nations is appreciated by all and sundry”.
A statement released in today in Awka, Anambra State capital, the National President of the Association of Anambra Town Unions (ASATU), Chief Alex Onukwue, said: “the Air Peace chairman is deserving of the highest national honour, which can be bestowed on a private individual not just in appreciation of the heroic efforts of Chief Onyema but also to inspire other Nigerians to become world class role models”.
ASATU is the umbrella organisation of the town unions of 179 communities in Anambra State.
The statement notes: “Just two days ago, Air Peace flew 312 Indian nationals on its B777 aircraft directly from Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos to Kochi, India nonstop for 10 hours, an event, which New Delhi celebrated for its historic value as the first direct flight between Nigeria and India.
“Three days earlier, the carrier had lifted 301 Chinese from Lagos to Guangzhou in a direct deal with the Chinese Government, the second in as many months”.
The indigenous carrier had on March 29 taken 274 Israelis in Nigeria home through Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Said Chief Onukwue: “All our people are delighted that the Israeli government, perhaps the most security conscious government anywhere in the world, trusted Air Peace to fly hundreds of its valued citizens home over and above much older international air carriers, and Air Peace, as usual, lived up to its reputation as an airline of choice.
“In all the places where Air Peace has flown to, including the United Arab Emirates and the West African coast, it has flown the Nigerian flag with pride and the citizens of those countries always show appreciation.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that various nations are negotiating with Air Peace to fly home their citizens stranded in Nigeria since March when airports were closed amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Its tariff has remained the most competitive of all international carriers flying into Nigeria because, apart from employing the best Nigerian aviation professionals, the Air Peace chairman is not driven primarily by profit, otherwise he would not have ventured into airline business in Nigeria.
“He has made it clear several times that the major reasons for his involvement are to give the country world class flight services and to provide jobs for our teeming youths and professionals generally.
“Air Peace has trained hundreds of Nigerians, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, in different countries of the world, and they are today gainfully employed as pilots, aeronautic engineers and others.
Air Peace operates 27 planes from Boeing Corporation with headquarters in Chicago, Illinois State, and Embraer Corporation in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with an order for five more Embraer machines yet to be met.
Air Peace, founded in 2014 by Nigerian entrepreneur Allen Onyeama, a lawyer, made international headlines when it signed in 2018 a deal with Boeing Corporation to purchase 10 of its equipment for national, regional and international operations.
Its profile shut up astronomically when it hurled home free of charge over 630 Nigerians stranded in South Africa in the wake of the 2019 xenophobic attacks in South African cities against mostly African nationals.