New Nigerian airline to begin operations - THE NATION
- Plans Nigeriaâ€™s maiden low-cost carrier
By Kelvin Osa-Okunbor
Nigeriaâ€™s air transport is set to experience a revolution as a proposed low-cost carrier â€“ Green Africa Airways â€“ is set to commence operations. It has already reached the final stage of certification.
Regulatory sources hinted that promoters of the carrier are putting finishing touches to secure the Air Operatorâ€™s Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), a mandatory regulatory prerequisite before any scheduled carrier could take off. Sources hinted that commencement of flight operations by Green Africa Airways promises to reshape the aviation industry with its state-of-the-art aircraft.
Despite the ongoing pandemic, industry analysts agree that the long-term potential in the aviation market remains vibrant. Experts say the right business model, fleet, and value proposition, new entrants can capture the attractive market opportunities.
Last October, Green Africa had formed a strategic partnership with First City Monument Bank (FCMB), which yielded $31 million in a combination of standby letter of credit and rolling working capital. Green Africa is owned by Babawande Afolabi. Its leadership team includes two well-experienced leaders in the global aviation industry, Neil Mills â€“ President/Chief Operating Officer and Kiran Koteshwar â€“ Chief Financial Officer.
The planned unveiling of its crew uniform tagged â€œThe Runwayâ€ will be made public soon.
Last December, the airline sent its pilots on a type-rating training. They include: Folu Oladipo, chief pilot; Victor Yem, John Ayerume, Stephen Okereke, Ladi Ogun, and Israel Eloho. While Green Africa is yet to provide information about its launch and routes networks, the public continues to speculate ahead of its launch which the company says is on track for this year.
The company continues to scale-up the manpower required for the start of operations and some of the new recruited cabin crew members (Adefolabi Ogunnaike, Rosemary Uagbor, Afolabi Modupe, Juliana Aku, Aderounmu Yetunde, Okere Ijeoma, Chieke Immaculate, and Abimbola Segun) were also recently sent for type-rating training.
According to a source at NCAA, â€œthe airline is serious. They mean business and could start soon, as they are close to acquiring the Air Operatorâ€™s Certificate (AOC)â€. This stance corroborates the statement of the Director-General of NCAA late last year when he said the country could witness more four airlines in 2021.
Green Africa being confident of all its scheduled plans, has given out 24 free tickets during the December 2020 promotion tagged â€œThis the season to giftâ€. A cross-section of their social media pages shows various winners, all from different walks of life which shows the airline is for everyone, including those that take road transportation.
This is a daring step that most airlines around the world take only when they are already in operations. This feat is a stamp of commitment to get into the air as soon as possible. Before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, Green Africa ordered fifty A220-300s from Airbus and also committed to leasing an additional three of the aircraft type from leasing company, GTLK Europe.
This was in February 2020. Green Africa is anchored by a group of senior industry leaders led by Tom Horton, former Chairman & CEO of American Airlines, Wale Adeosun, Founder & CEO of Kuramo Capital, William Shaw, CEO of InterJet, Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines and Gbenga Oyebode, Founder & Chairman of Aluko & Oyebode.