United Nigeria targets West Coast operations, fleet expansion phase
United Nigeria Airlines has disclosed plans to begin regional operation and fleet expansion drive in the second year of its operations.
The airline, adjudged to be a commercial success in the first year of local services, shall be adding two wide-body aircraft per quarter to deepen air connectivity in the West African region.
Chairman of the airline, Dr. Obiora Okonkwo, ahead of the February 12 first anniversary, said the start-up enjoyed “very productive year of client relationship” despite the biting realities of the operating environment.
Okonkwo noted that in 12 months of operating a lean fleet of five aircraft, the airline was able to unite over 260,000 passengers with their destinations safely, operating 40 daily flights across the Southern cities and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“Through this, we have created over 500 direct jobs and more than a thousand indirect jobs. We are now in the process of expanding our domestic operations to reach, in the next few weeks, Benin, Kano, Jigawa and Yola. These are part of our immediate expansion programme as we work to ensure that none of our aircraft remains on ground. They belong to the skies and that is where they must be,” he said.
Going forward, the airline shall be receiving wide-body aircraft for continental operations.
“Our plan here is to grow at our own pace. We plan that within the next 12 months, we see ourselves doubling the number of our fleets with larger passenger capacity aircraft.
“This is because it was our strategic plan to start with smaller body aircraft with 50 passenger capacity to develop and strengthen our operations. Having achieved that, we are now ready to introduce bigger body aircrafts as add-ons.”
“Hopefully, we will add two aircraft every quarter till the end of the year. That will give us the opportunity to expand our operations even beyond our borders,” Okonkwo said.