Feature: Air Peace’s Global Ambitions: Drawing Inspiration from Stansted Airport’s Evolution

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by Ayo Akinfe

Stansted Airport in the UK started life during World War II when it was used as an air force base. Today, it is the country’s third busiest airport. I hope Air Peace study this as they come up with a plan to become a global operator

[1] If Air Peace are going to survive over the long term, it simply need to be able to match the economies of scale provided by the likes of BA, Virgin, Emirates, KLM, Air France, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, etc

[2] What this means in practical terms is that they need to merge with the likes of Ethiopian Airlines, Ghanaian Airways, Kenya Airways, etc to form a continental conglomerate. How else will they be able to compete against a scenario whereby for instance BA slash prices on the Lagos-London route by 70% and keep it set at that for 12 months?

[3] On the global stage, Air Peace will also need to secure landing rights in major US cities like New York, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and Chicago. Capturing the American market has got to be key if they are to fight off foreign airlines with deep pockets

[4] Maybe at some stage, US carriers like United Airlines, Delta Air Line, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines can be asked to take out, say, a 10% stake in an expanded Air Peace serving as Africa’s continental airline

[5] Bringing in an international partner should make opening a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Lagos or Abuja easier. That is key if Nigeria is to become an aviation hub

[6] During World War Two, Stansted was also an Air Technical Services Command maintenance and supply depot concerned with major overhauls and modification of B-26 bombers. Can you imagine if we had that kind of technical facility in Nigeria where military aircraft could be modified

[7] If you ask me, this expanded Air Peace should be looking to purchase a minority stake in a Nigerian aircraft manufacturing venture involving a company like Boeing or Embraer

[8] To guarantee things go hitch-free, this expanded Air Peace will need to enter into a five-year aviation fuel supply deal with the Dangote refinery

[9] As a caveat to woo the likes of Boeing to Nigeria, the federal government should get all Nigerian airlines to sign a Boeing First 10-year supply agreement when it comes to purchasing new aircraft

[10] If we are to see off this constant exploitation in the aviation sector, we need to allow airlines like Air Peace to purchase aircraft cheaper than their international competitors, and the way to do this is to manufacture planes in Nigeria. Just imagine if Boeing committed to manufacturing a plane bigger than the Airbus A380 at a facility in Nigeria and Air Peace bought six for long-haul flights to Asia and the US

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