Ibom Air, the indigenous airline of Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom State Government, has placed an order with Airbus for ten A220 aircraft at the ongoing Dubai Air show, which is being held at the purpose-built DWC event arena in Dubai.
The agreement was signed today by Ibom Air Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mfon Udom, and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Christian Scherer, in the presence of Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Uko Udom, SAN, and the Chairman of Ibom Air, Mr. Imoabasi Jacob, who led the Ibom Air team, which also included
Ibom Air chose the A220 in an unconventional manner, working in collaboration with the Airbus team.
The airline began by wet-leasing two A220s for a year to assess the aircraft’s suitability for their needs. Within six months of beginning this process, the airline was able to validate the A220 as the best option for its domestic and regional goals.
The ten Airbus A220 orders are in line with the airline’s aggressive growth strategy, which will see it expand its footprint into new domestic routes as well as regional routes covering West and Central Africa in the near future. Malabo, Douala, Libreville, Kinshasa, Accra, Abidjan, Freetown, Banjul, and Dakar will be included in the first phase of this expansion. Eventually, the airline plans to operate across the entire African continent.
The all-new A220 is designed for efficiency, with a target market of 100-150 seats. It consumes 20% less fuel per seat than previous generation aircraft and has a range of up to 3,400 nautical miles (6,297 kilometers), providing performance comparable to larger, single-aisle aircraft. The A220’s superior cabin product and low operating costs are a perfect fit for the airline’s network growth strategy, allowing Ibom Air to provide its customers with an unrivaled value proposition.
In his remarks, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State stated, “Earlier this year, we gathered to welcome the first Airbus into our fleet, and I must say that we are proud to be the first airline in Nigeria to order the all-new Airbus A220.” The A220 will allow us to increase the number of passengers arriving in Akwa Ibom, bringing in more first-time visitors and business travelers.
These efforts demonstrate our commitment to facilitating local commerce and industry, which is consistent with the State’s economic growth strategy. With this latest acquisition, Ibom Air is better positioned to contribute to Akwa Ibom State’s long-term economic growth. Ibom Air’s giant leap, as demonstrated by this audacious step, validates the aviation development pillar of our completion agenda, which is on track.
I have stated and will continue to state that I will work for and in the best interests of the people of Akwa Ibom until the end of time.
Speaking at the announcement, Ibom Air’s CEO shed more light on the A220’s selection: “It gives me great pleasure to be here at the announcement of Ibom Air’s order for ten Airbus A220s.” We are pleased with the rapid growth we have achieved in the two (2) years and five (5) months since we began operations, growth that has been fueled primarily by the widespread acceptance of our product and brand by the Nigerian domestic flying public.
As we considered the next phase of our expansion strategy, we decided to acquire two (2) A220s on a one-year wet lease in order to test the aircraft to ensure it was suitable for our needs. I’m happy to report that the approach has been a huge success for us.
We discovered that not only can we fill the plane, but it has also become popular in the Nigerian domestic market. It’s a hit with our passengers. So, here we are today, ordering ten A220s after testing and validating it as a one-stop solution for our domestic and regional goals.”
Mr. Christian Scherer, Airbus’ Chief Commercial Officer, stated, “we are thrilled to add Ibom Air as a new Airbus customer.” The A220 is perfectly suited to Nigeria’s aviation requirements, providing operational flexibility, expanding the business, and responding to increased passenger service demand. Ibom Air’s investment demonstrates its commitment to regional and, eventually, international connectivity, efficiency, and versatility.”
Following the signing of the purchase agreement, deliveries of the aircraft to Ibom Air will begin in the first quarter of 2023.