ALLEN ONYEMA – TRANSFORMING AFRICA’S AVIATION SECTOR
BY GLOBAL PEACE MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL
To succeed, we have to learn from the mistakes of those who came before us.
I can’t go to my grave with my wallet. Am here on earth by the grace of God to develop the society and my family; all glory belongs to God
– ALLEN ONYEMA
Allen Onyema is a Nigeria lawyer and business man. He established Air Peace, a Nigerian indigenous airline in 2013. Prior to this, he owned Onyema & Co., Allen Onyema & Company, and other business outfit.
He is not just a billionaire but one with the interest of mankind at heart. His is interested in providing jobs to the masses. Summarily, Allen is one of the patriotic Nigerian, and a man with a heart of gold.
Onyema’s philanthropic gesture has no limit. He is interested in ensuring peace and tranquility in Nigeria, and has continued to work towards that goal.
Firstly, he organised the 1st Nigeria Forever Project in 2005, with the support of the Federal Government. The project which was done to promote broad nationalism as against ethnic nationalism became successful.
Also, he supported the government in putting an end to the Niger Delta militancy and also helped in training the group after amnesty was granted to them.
Also, in September 2019, Allen was instrumental in the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa as a result of Xenophobic attack. This act has remained a laudable effort as he was able to converge hundreds of Nigerians willing to return to their dear country.
In 2013, Onyema founded Air Peace, as a private Nigerian airline. According to him, the business was borne out of the interest to create jobs for people. Although, the process began far back in 2007, but it encountered many hassles. Then, right about when Allen wanted to give up the airline dreams, solution came.
Air Peace airline, in line with international standards of airlines business, has been serving as a promoter of nation-building and national identity and growth strategy since Nigerian Airways went to comatose for over two decades.
In many countries, the national carrier has played a significant role in nation-building and national identity, but in Nigeria, Air Peace has filled the gap over a decade. Historically, airlines have been regarded as important national symbols and they have been used by governments as ‘chosen instruments’ for projecting their countries internationally.
Air Peace is a flying example of African resourcefulness and ingenuity in the airline business. A carrier that instils a sense of pride when spotted on the runway of a far-off land; when it brings home the national football team or when it flies out to evacuate citizens stranded in a conflict or disaster countries like South Africa and Libya.
The airline is among the top 5 international Airlines in Nigeria honoured with the Award of the Best Nigerian International Airline in 2021. It is a major feat because it uses the newest planes flying both local and international. Air Peace is the first airline to use the brand new E195 E2 in Africa.
Air Peace was able to make history after 60 years of diplomatic relations, no direct flight has been conducted between Nigeria and Israel till today.
It is the first time Nigeria and Israel will have direct air connectivity and it has since yield good relationship for both countries.
Air Peace is the first airline to start Operations in Anambra airport. That in away has created job opportunities to young Nigerians.
In an increasingly globalised world, smart governments recognise the importance of having their flags fluttering on as many routes as possible. Hence, the decision by the Federal Government to suspend Emirates Airlines from operating in Nigeria until it approves the flight slots for Air Peace in Dubai, and was done for the good of both nations.
As governments around the world continue to tighten their belts, they also have to remember there are some things you simply have to protect: education, national security, banks and infrastructure are all fundamental; and Air Peace is a Nigerian airline and a pride of Africa, has been impactful in many aspects.
Conceivably, the recent executive summary of flights in Nigeria for 2021, released by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, defied the trending myth in Aviation Blues. The data was in 2 parts – International Operations and domestic. IbomAir had the Best Records for Domestic Operations and Wins the Award of the Best in Nigeria. Air Peace came Second on all Scores as the Second Best in Nigeria.
On the international scene, Africa World Airlines, AWA came first and wins the award as the Best International and Best African Airline and Air Peace was 4th out of 27 International Airlines Operating in Nigeria. It also came Second as the Best African Airline in Nigeria.
To expand its operational capacity and compete favourably with other international airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways, Delta etc., Air Peace which is described as, Nigeria’s fastest-growing airline has acquired an additional 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft worth about $1.13 billion.
It had no unresolved complaint. Which means there was zero complaint lodged with NCAA that was not resolved. With 65,037 international passengers flown to 8 destinations in 2021, there were only 12 cases of misplaced baggage. It had 31% of its International flights delayed which is better than most European and African Airlines.
Emphasizing the company’s giant stride, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, expressed confidence that the indigenous airline will compete favourably with foreign carriers e, especially with its commencement of operations to destinations like Houston, Mumbai, South Africa, Dubai, Guangzhou-China, and London.
Mr Allen declared “Air Peace is ready to begin operations on these routes as soon as we get the cooperation of our aviation agencies, our home governments, and the outside governments of the countries we are going to.
The deal was sealed at the United States of America (USA) Consulate erstwhile Lagos between Mr Allen Onyema, Managing Director/CEO of Air Peace and Mr. Larry Tolliver, Sales Director, West and Central Africa for Boeing.
According to a report from Air Peace, each of the Boeing 737 MAX cost about $113 million but the deal with Boeing comes with a package that has not only slashed the price by half, but also allows for easy access to spare parts and the training and retraining of pilots, engineers, and cabin crew of Air Peace.
Allen Onyema, Air Peace CEO explained that each of the Boeing 737MAX aircraft had the potential to generate jobs for 500 people and that the 10 aircraft will create additional 5,000 jobs in the aviation sector.
According to Onyema, “We are joining the big league with this order for 10 Boeing 737MAX from Boeing, but the most important thing for us is the contribution we are making to create jobs.
“I don’t believe that Nigerian airlines cannot compete favourably with the others. What we have been lacking is the necessary support. Within the last three years, we have been able to increase our fleet size. That is rapid growth and we are still growing stronger.”
Commending the management of Air Peace airline, the US Consul General in Nigeria, John Bray, said the US government took a special interest in the deal because of its economic impact as well create massive employment opportunities for Nigerians.
Bray, who lauded the commitment and operational standards of the airline, said, “We are jointly working with the Nigerian government for the economy, especially to create jobs for citizens. There is an ongoing dialogue between Nigeria and the US for open skies and what we want to see, is that Nigerian carriers qualify to fly the route.”
Following the xenophobia crisis in South Africa, Air Peace CEO, Mr. Allen Onyema directed his airlines to evacuate Nigerians free and many citizens and foreigners commended the airline owner for his magnanimity. For instance, Agwagah Memoir Ike, said, “The whole world is proud of you. Everybody is praying for you, your company and your family. Our Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t sleep and will eventually reward your beautiful legacy.”
Chibueze Michael also praises the airline owner, “As the humans on earth are happy and praying for #Airpeace so is heaven too praying for you. The Lord will continually be with our investment and you will increase a hundred folds.
Ibrahim Maishanu Isgogo, “Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are. I love air peace from the beginning to the end.” While Victoria Tamunopekerebia, added, “Even heaven is happy with you sir. More grace on every side in Jesus Christ name Amen.”
While congratulating Air Peace airline for its outstanding growth in the business domestic and international, experts have appealed to the Federal Government to continue to assist Nigerian airlines to operate favourably with foreign airlines.
Air Peace boss, Chief Allen Onyema, took most people by surprise when he volunteered his Airline for the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa following xenophobic attacks on black Africans resident in the country. His act of charity has since continued to gather for him favourable accolades.
He has in different sector left a big positive foot print that not any Nigerian has made attempt to stand in. He is a patriotic and will do anything for the good of the nation.