Following the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in recent times, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced, last week that Air Peace Airline volunteered to send an aircraft to South Africa to evacuate Nigerians who wish to return to the country, free of charge.
Despite the challenges faced by local airlines in the country, it is encouraging to see that one of the airlines could render such a gesture. This shows that the management of the airline is concerned about the welfare of Nigerian citizens. This act should be regarded as a high level of corporate social responsibility by the airline, as it displays that it has the country and its citizens at heart. No wonder the airline is the most successful in Nigeria.
Over the years, the airline has distinguished itself as patriotic despite the numerous challenges facing indigenous airline operators in Nigeria and that trait has reflected in all the airline’s activities since its inception.
The airline started its international operations recently with a direct flight to Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. The airline also provides all international passengers with best services which are available on best global airlines. Air peace is also the only Nigerian carrier to acquire the brand new Boeing 777 planes for long haul operations.
The airline has also created employment opportunities for Nigerians as it has no fewer than 3000 Nigerians as its staff and 8,000 others employed indirectly by it despite coming into existence 5 years ago. During this short time, the airline has achieved great feat in the aviation industry and has set the pace for other indigenous airlines in the country. Indeed its patriotism has made it the pride of Nigeria’s aviation industry despite the harsh operating environment.
In an interview with newsmen sometimes back, the Chairman of the Airline, Allen Onyema disclosed the motive behind establishing the airline.
According to him, he was involved in philanthropic activities before going into the aviation industry as he gave money to different people to start business. He observed that these people usually come back for more money after squandering the one that was given earlier. This made him to think about creating jobs for people rather than giving them money. He inquired about the type of business that he could do to create more jobs. He ventured into aviation as one aircraft could provide about 1,000 jobs directly. Despite the risk involved in aviation, Onyema was more concerned about helping people by creating jobs.
The magnanimous act of the airline isn’t surprising as its boss is the National Chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria. He is a nationalist and has always worked for the good and progress of the country which made him volunteer to evacuate Nigerians form South Africa.
According to Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group), if one wants to become a billionaire, he should go into aviation. This means that aviation creates jobs for the country but it is not profitable to the owners.
Although there are reports that the planned airlift of Nigerians in South Africa was postponed till Monday, September 9, or Tuesday, September 10, this singular act by the airline is commendable. The airline is sure to make more accomplishments in the aviation industry if it continues with these commendable acts.