Air Peace (P4, Lagos) chairman Allen Onyema says the Central Bank of Nigeria is withholding about USD14 million of the airline's funds while 15 of its aircraft are stranded abroad. The Nigerian airline boss described challenges local businesses and investors faced when addressing an annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja on August 28, 2023.

Using Air Peace's 2022 expenditure of NGN78 billion naira (USD101 million) as an example, Onyema criticised the cost to local airlines of aircraft maintenance in foreign countries.

He also recounted his unsuccessful attempt to secure land at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport for a maintenance hangar, despite paying over NGN100 million (USD129,781) to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in 2015.

Onyama dismissed criticism that Nigerian airlines lacked capacity but instead stressed the need for genuine government support and an improved business environment to grow local investments. "Air Peace has about USD14 million stranded in the Central Bank of Nigeria. It is not hidden. We also have about 15 aircraft stranded abroad. Afterwards, people will say Nigerian airlines lack capacity. They do not lack capacity; what they lack is truthful government support and ease of doing business," he was cited by Daily Trust newspaper.

"We are not serious in this country about encouraging indigenous investments. How do you grow your economy when local investors are being treated with levity and envy by their own ministers?"

"We are the largest carrier in West and Central Africa and the fastest-growing airline in Africa. Yet we do not have a maintenance hangar. Not because we do not have funds to build one. If we had been given the land to build the hangar, by now, Nigeria will have an MRO they will be proud of, and this will attract foreign investments because other countries will come here to maintain their aircraft, quoted Nigeria's Business Day newspaper.

According to the ch-aviation fleets module, at least 13 of Air Peace's fleet of 34 aircraft are parked in storage or for maintenance. It also operates five wet-leased units including A320-200s from SmartLynx Airlines Malta (2N, Malta International), two B737-700s from Eznis Airways (MG, Ulaanbaatar), and one B737-800 from Syphax Airlines (Sfax). It has on order ten B737-8 MAX and eight E195-E2s.