Air Peace has said Nigerian airlines are finding it difficult to meet their business obligations due to dollar scarcity.
The carriers Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Allen Onyeama, said this during the delivery of its second brand new Embraer E195-2 in Abuja.
The CEO disclosed that the shortage of dollars was partly responsible for delay in phasing out its old planes.
Onyema said, “Everything we do is in dollars. We have not been able to discharge our obligations to foreign maintenance organisations because you need dollars to give them. We have the naira but to get dollars is difficult.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria has struggled to improve dollar supply with a peg on diaspora remittances.
“The CBN has been trying for us and we understand the plight that it is not the fault of the government but we are pleading that we should be able to access forex more easily,” said Allen.
Nigeria saw an upsurge in dollar shortage in 2020 following the fall in crude oil prices which constitutes over 90 per cent of foreign exchange earnings leading to a huge dollar backlog of $2bn as of September last year.
As a result of the lock down, Allen said about 20 of Air Peace aircraft under maintenance overseas were affected, adding that some of which are expected to be back for use.
Onyema said, “The existing planes we took for maintenance abroad will be coming in by June and we would fill the country with our planes.”
Air Peace also hopes to replace the older aircraft in its fleet, which is largely B737 classics with the Boeing 737 MAX and the Embraer E195-E2.
This would be in addition to the company’s eight E145 that provides service to low passenger traffic airports.
He said, “We are not phasing out our Boeing aircraft, part of our business plan is that as we are getting the brand new planes, we would be phasing out the old ones, but remember that we are bringing in a brand new Boeing 737 Max.
“We are still a member of the Boeing family; we may have to phase out any aging Boeing aircraft in our fleet.”