START-UP international airline Green Africa Airways is set to commence flight operations as from December next year with a fleet of ATR 72-600 planes that it has just recently purchased in a move expected to radically shake up the aviation industry.
In February last year, Green Africa Airways has placed an eyebrow-raising order for 50 Airbus A220-300 aircrafts in what is a massive $117bn deal which when delivered will equip it to become a major player in the global aviation industry. Founded by Nigerian entrepreneur Babawande Afolabi with former American Airlines chairman Tom Horton, its chief commercial officer Virasb Vahidi and William Shaw, the founder and former chief executive of VivaColombia on its board, Green Africa Airways will be Lagos-based.
Mr Afolabi, said the airline deferred the delivery of its A220-300 planes and will now move ahead with the ATR 72-600 instead. He added that the airline planned to deploy up to 15 aircraft across Nigeria by December 2022 and open two to three additional airport bases within the country over the next 12 to 18 months.
According to Mr Afolabi, the ATR 72-600 is a fuel efficient aircraft costing 40% less in operating costs which will enable the airline to provide affordable fares and open up in newer cities. He added that Green Africa Airways plans to help rebuild the aviation sector as its seeks to recover post-coronavirus.
While the airline’s launch routes include Lagos, Abuja and a number of other regional Nigerian cities such as Yola and Port Harcourt, Green Africa Airways may also decide to fly to regional destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and South Africa in the future. It is not yet clear if it plans to fly to Europe and North America yet.