Airbus okays Ibom Air order, sets 2023 delivery date
French commercial jet manufacturer, Airbus, yesterday, received Ibom Air’s order for 10 new A220-300 aircraft with a pledge to deliver the first set in the first quarter of 2023.
The deal, estimated at $905 million, will launch Akwa Ibom State-owned airline into regional operations. The order also pushes Airbus to a stronger lead among other manufacturers in terms of orders placed on day three of the Dubai Airshow, as well as the total orders for the Dubai Airshow so far.
Ibom Air’s order consists of three of the larger Airbus A220-300, and seven of the smaller A220-100s. However, while the numbers of aircraft have been set, the split between the two types remains fluid, meaning we could see more of one type, and less of another.
The airline started by wet-leasing two A220s for a year, to test the suitability of the aircraft for their needs. Within six months of this process, the airline was able to validate the A220 as the right choice for its domestic and regional aspirations.
The order of the 10 Airbus A220 is in line with the airline’s growth plan, which will see it expanding its footprint into new domestic routes as well as regional routes covering West and Central Africa in the immediate future.
The first phase of this expansion is set to cover cities like Malabo, Douala, Libreville, Kinshasa, Accra, Abidjan, Freetown, Banjul and Dakar.
Governor of Akwa Ibom State, who also heads the delegation, Udom Emmanuel, said the investment would enable the airline to increase passenger inflow into Akwa Ibom, thus bringing more first-time visitors and business travellers to the State.
Emmanuel said the efforts reflect commitment to enabling local commerce and industry, in line with the State’s economic growth strategy.
“With this latest acquisition, Ibom Air is better positioned to contribute to driving long term economic growth for Akwa Ibom State. Ibom Air’s giant leap as evidenced by this bold step is a validation of the aviation development pillar of our completion agenda, which is on course. I have said and will reiterate that, till the very last day, I will keep working for and in the interest of Akwa Ibom people.”
Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, George Uriesi, said the trial run on Airbus 220 had proven the aircraft as the best choice.
“We found out that not only can we fill up the aircraft, but it has also become a favorite in the Nigerian domestic market. Our passengers love it. And so, here we are today, ordering 10 A220s, having tested and validated it as the one-stop solution for our domestic and regional aspirations.”
Chief Commercial Officer of Airbus, Christian Scherer, said Airbus was thrilled to add Ibom Air as a new customer.
“The A220 is ideally suited to Nigeria’s aviation needs, providing operational flexibility, growing the business, and responding to demand for increased passenger services. Through this investment, Ibom Air is underscoring its ambition for regional and in due course, international connectivity, efficiency and versatility.”
The all-new A220 is purpose built for efficiency, targeting the 100-150 seat market. It burns 20 per cent lower fuel per seat compared to previous generation aircraft and flies to a range of up to 3,400 nm (6,297 km), offering performance similar to larger, single-aisle aircraft.