Air Peace (P4, Lagos) and Embraer have inked a USD288.3 million deal for acquiring five E175s with options for five more, plus establishing an MRO facility in Nigeria for maintenance support on the type. The order will see the replacement of the airline's existing 50-seater E145s and is in line with its fleet modernisation plan, according to a joint statement.

The agreement was signed at the Africa Aviation 2023 summit in Abuja on September 14 by new Nigerian Aviation and Aerospace Development Minister Festus Keyamo, Air Peace Chairman Allan Onyema, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Musa Nuha, and Stephen Hannemann, Embraer Commercial Vice President Sales & Marketing Africa and the Middle East.

Deliveries of the 88-seat aircraft begin in 2024, starting with the first two, Embraer said. According to the ch-aviation fleets module, Air Peace already operates five larger E195-E2s, and five EMB-145LRs and three EMB-145MPs. "These smaller aircraft will complement the airline's existing fleet, allowing Air Peace to dynamically match capacity to demand, protecting yields and route viability," the OEM said in a statement.

"Already an E2 operator, it now makes sense [for Air Peace] to upgauge their ERJ145 fleet, offering passengers more seats and comfort with the E175. The commonality of the cockpits between the E1 and E2 fleet also simplifies aircrew costs and management," commented Hannemann.

"This is another important step in helping to realise our ambition to connect the whole of Nigeria with the entire African continent while also feeding passengers into long-haul flights from our Lagos hub," commented Onyema. "The acquisition enables us to continue delivering on our 'no-city-left-behind' initiative – connectivity is what our passengers, and Africa, demand. The deal also paves the way to establish local maintenance capabilities in Nigeria, with direct support from Embraer," he added.

News Room Nigeria reports that Onyema said the acquisition was based on a directive given to him by Minister Keyamo to drive the Nigerian aviation sector forward while attracting investment through the maintenance facility. "The minister called me two weeks ago and said moving forward, any Nigerian airline that wants to bring in brand-new planes must also think of maintenance capabilities for those planes in-house and within Nigeria," he disclosed.

Air Peace was the first African carrier to order the E2s when it signed up for ten E195-E2s in 2019. It later added three more. The contract included purchase rights for an additional twenty of the type. According to ch-aviation data, eight E195-E2s are still due for delivery.