Nigerian startup airline, Green Africa Airways, has ordered 50 A220s jets from Airbus. This has been described as the largest aircraft purchase by an African airline.
Recall that Nairametrics earlier reported that the deal was close to being finalised. Green Africa Airline hopes to begin commercial operations in Nigeria soon. It will compete with the likes of Medview and Air Peace which have dominated the Nigerian aviation market in the last few years.
The BBC quoted the company’s Founder, Babawande Afolabi, to have expressed excitement following the deal. He said:
“Together with Airbus, we are incredibly proud to announce the largest order ever for the A220 from the African continent.”
Green Africa Airways initially planned to acquire Boeing’s controversial 737 Max. The company announced the impending deal with Boeing in December 2018, months before a second deadly air mishap involving the Max model resulted in it being grounded.
The deal with Boeing was expected to cost about $11.7 billion. It was also supposed to be the largest aircraft agreement from Africa.
It has long been Afolabi’s long-held dream to build a “world-class airline” that will serve the Nigerian market, helping to “unlock a new realm of positive possibilities for millions of customers.”
Green Africa Airways received its Air Transport License from the Nigerian government some years ago. The startup is anchored by a group of senior industry leaders led by Tom Horton, former Chairman and CEO of American Airlines; William Shaw, Founder and former CEO of VivaColombia, and Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines. According to reports, the airline’s strategy is to first develop the Nigerian market and then ‘build a strong Pan African network.’
In the meantime, Boeing’s 737 Max airplanes continue to be grounded.