Air Peace (P4, Lagos) plans to use its incoming fleet of B737 MAX jets to open up point-to-point intercontinental routes.

The privately-owned Nigerian carrier signed a firm order agreement with Boeing (BOE, Chicago O'Hare) in September last year for ten B737-8s but did not disclose when deliveries would begin.

However, in an interview with African Aerospace, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Allen Onyema said the MAX's capacity (up to 189 passengers in an all-economy configuration) and range would be ideal for thinner routes to Europe and the Middle East.

“We bought B777s and ordered the B737 MAX because we want to start flying Lagos to Paris direct with the MAX,” he said. “We want to fly Lagos-Frankfurt Int'l, Lagos-Milan Malpensa and Kano-Dubai Int'l. We want to fly from Enugu to London."

Air Peace is an existing B737 operator with eight B737-300s and five -500s currently used to run domestic Nigerian as well as regional West African services.

Turning to Air Peace's widebody fleet of one B777-200(ER) and one B777-300, both of which have yet to be deployed into service despite arriving in Nigeria in February and August last year respectively, Onyema said he expected to use their range to open up flights from Lagos to London as well as Guangzhou in China and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo.

However, he attributed their delayed service entry to a protracted application process for permits and certifications abroad.

“In seeking to obtain certain permits and certifications some years ago, the applicant merely needed to submit documents to the authorities being approached. But, today, most of them request the physical presence of the aeroplanes in question,” he said.