Monday, 20 June 2022 06:44

To the Air Peace pilot who flew Boeing triple 7 to Nigeria - Prisca Sam-Duru

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Victor Egonu Victor Egonu

Victor Egonu was one of the best pilots Nigeria ever produced. He was the immediate past Director Flight Operation with Air Peace. He joined Air Peace in 2014 as its first Head of Pilots Training and later became the Chief Pilot in 2015 and Director of Flight Operations in 2019.

Born on August 20, 1959 in the UK, his passing away on Monday June 6, 2022, in London, at a period he was already thinking of retirement, leaves nothing but pain in the hearts of the visionary and compassionate professional’s employer as well as others whose lives he impacted. 

Few years before his demise, Egonu ‘introduced’ the first pride of Air Peace’s ‘fleet and Boeing 777-200 extended range that will service the upcoming international worldwide destination’. The aircraft was flown in from Dublin to Muritala Mohammed International Airport by the Chief Pilot of the Airline, Victor Egonu and Simon Donoghue, a Boeing instructor. He described the aircraft as very beautiful and one that will soon carry the dream of Nigeria. The airline itself has become one of Nigeria’s visible brands, maintaining their lead as the biggest indigenous airline in Nigeria sky with more than 30 Aircraft.

In a viral interview, Egonu, the Chief fleet pilot spoke about upcoming routes, frequencies and the newest standards of passenger comfort in design, and how the company is rethinking travel through infusion of Nigerian culture.

On how he felt being the first Nigerian pilot to have flown the first Nigerian registered triple 7, he said “It’s a privilege to be captain on this flight. This is the first triple 7 in Nigeria, that is Nigerian registered and was flown in by a Nigerian captain on a Nigerian licence. This is good not just for Air Peace but for Nigeria Aviation and Nigerians; it’s a very proud day. “The Chairman of Air Peace has a big dream and I must say it’s a pleasure to be involved in it. I’m a pilot I fly planes but of course the person that’s taking the risk and financing it is the Chairman of the Airline, Allen Onyema. We work as a team but at the end of the day if he hadn’t had the dream to try it, we wouldn’t be here today”.

Speaking about how very comfortable the planes are, he said “One of the destinations we want to fly is China and China going from Nigeria is about 12 hours and coming back is about 15 and half hours. You can imagine someone is going to be on board for 15 and half hours, it has to be comfortable. “We are geared up to accommodate everybody’s likes or wishes. Everybody who travels out of Nigeria, the triple 7 is the flight, right, very well maintained, fantastic plane not because I flew it but it is actually a fantastic plane. We have the biggest screens that I’ve seen in Nigeria. Yes, everybody has a demand so, they can watch what they want, when they want to watch it”.

Plans to sustain excellence in the Airline’s operations were also in place as Egonu revealed that “We’ve trained eight pilots and are planning to train a lot more this year. So, by the time we start full operations with the aircraft, majority of the pilots on board will be Nigerians. We are looking forward to having a Nigerian product that is as good as anybody else’s product. This is a Nigerian registered airplane owned by a Nigerian, run by a Nigerian and flown and operated by Nigerians”.

Oblivious that death would come calling suddenly, he spoke about his retirement. “I was joking with my colleagues and I’m actually ready to retire now. Maybe I have few more years to go but if I retire now, I’m very content because I’ve achieved a goal; we always learn, we’re always learning. I started flying since 1981 but I’ve been a Captain since 1992. I plan to retire”. And so, he did. Fare thee well able Captain!


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