Air travellers on Monday expressed fear over the recent order made by Air Peace, Nigeria’s largest domestic carrier, for the purchase of 10 Boeing 737 MAX jets, following the air accidents involving the particular type of aircraft in the past few months.
Although Air Peace clarified that it had yet to take delivery of the aircraft, some passengers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, urged the airline to review its deal with Boeing considering the fact that the aircraft in question was involved in two recent fatal accidents.
On Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX aircraft operating flight ET302 en route Nairobi from Addis Ababa crashed six minutes after takeoff, killing 157 persons on board.
The Ethiopian Airlines aircraft crash was the second involving the B737 MAX 800 jets in the past four months following October 2018 crash that involved a Lion Air plane which crashed into the sea off Jakarta, Indonesia, killing 189 people on board.
“The air accidents involving the particular type of aircraft are becoming too much and frightening. It’s even more terrifying to know that our own Air Peace is about taking delivery of that type of aircraft,” Anyaogu Stanley, a passenger at the NAIA, said.
Another traveller, Emmanuel Onyekanmi, said, “Let’s hope the management of Air Peace will review their position as regards the purchase of those aircraft until the issues with the aircraft are adequately resolved.”
On September 14, 2018, The PUNCH reported that Air Peace signed a deal with the United States-based airline manufacturer, Boeing, for the purchase of 10 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, Allen Onyema, had stated that the order would arrive soon, adding that the airline’s fleet of aircraft had risen to 37.
At the signing ceremony for the sale of the 10 new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft at the residence of the US Consul General in Lagos, Onyema stated that with the acquisition of the planes, his firm was “the first West African airline to own the latest Boeing innovation.”
But reacting to enquiries from passengers and other airport users on Monday, the Corporate Communications Manager, Air Peace, Mr Chris Iwarah, said the airline had yet to take delivery of the aircraft.
He said the aircraft were still at the design and configuration stage, adding that the clarification became necessary in view of numerous calls and enquiries on our response to the incidents involving the B737 MAX 8 aircraft.
He said, “Although it is premature to comment on the incident, we wish to assure members of the flying public that we are closely following and monitoring developments on the issue as an airline that prioritises the safety and well-being of our customers.
“While we keep engaging with our partners in this regard, we repose implicit confidence in Boeing and aviation authorities to capably and satisfactorily address all the issues if at the conclusion of ongoing investigations it is discovered that the challenge is with the B737-Max 8.
“We urge members of the flying public to continue to choose Air Peace as their preferred airline and trust us to always act in their best interest.”