By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
An indigenous Airline in Akwa Ibom State, Ibom Air, has signed an agreement at the ongoing Dubai Air show with Airbus to procure ten (10) A220 aircraft.
The agreement, which was signed on Tuesday by the Chief Executive Officer of Ibom Air, Mr. Mfon Udom and Chief Commercial Officer of Airbus, Mr Christian Scherer, was done in the presence of the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
Also present, were the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uko Udom, SAN, and the Chairman of Ibom Air, Mr. Imoabasi Jacob who led the Ibom Air team, which also included the airline’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr George Uriesi, the Group Manager Marketing and communication, Mrs Aniekan Essienette and the Group Manager Corporate Services, Mrs. Imelda Aba. Ibom Air Manager Marketing and Communication, Mrs. Annie Essienette in a release in Uyo, stated that the airlinein collaboration with the Airbus team, took an innovative approach to making the choice of the A220.
According to Essienette, Ibom Air started by wet-leasing two (2) A220s for a year, to test the suitability of the aircraft for their needs, saying “Within 6 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 ten (10) Airbus A220 is in line with the airline’s aggressive 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,” Essienette stated.
She added, “The first phase of this expansion is set to cover cities like Malabo, Douala, Libreville, Kinshasa, Accra, Abidjan, Freetown, Banjul and Dakar. Ultimately the airline intends to operate throughout the continent of Africa. “The all-new A220 is purpose built for efficiency, targeting the 100-150 seat market. It burns 20% 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.
“The A220s combination of a superior cabin product and low operating costs are a perfect fit for the airline’s network growth strategy and will help Ibom Air offer its customers an unrivaled value proposition”. Speaking on the occasion, Governor Emmanuel said, “We are proud to be the first airline to order the all-new Airbus A220 in Nigeria. The A220 will allow us to increase the number of passengers into Akwa Ibom, thus bringing more first-time visitors and business travelers to the State”.
These efforts, the Governor stated has reflected the Akwa Ibom government commitment to enabling local commerce and industry, in line with the State’s economic growth strategy, stressing that with the latest acquisition, Ibom Air is better positioned to contribute to driving long term economic growth for Akwa Ibom State.
He said Ibom Air’s giant leap as evidenced by this bold step, is a validation of the aviation development pillar of his completion agenda which is on course and reiterated his commitment to work for the interest of Akwa Ibom people.
The CEO of Ibom Air, Mr. Mfon Udom said the choice of the 10 A220 Airbus said that Ibom Air before to procure the Aircraft opted to procure two (2) A220s on a one-year wet lease, in order to try out the aircraft to ensure it was fit for the purposes meant for.
“I am pleased to say here that the approach has been a huge success for us. 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.” On his part, the Chief Commercial Officer of Airbus, Mr. Christian Scherer said, “we are thrilled to add Ibom Air as a new Airbus 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.
With the purchase agreement signed, deliveries of the aircraft to Ibom Air will commence in the first quarter of 2023, he said. Ibom Air is a limited liability company wholly owned by the Akwa Ibom state Government, which aims to set the standard as an Airline of choice for passengers by focusing on schedule reliability, on-time performance, and excellent service with a vision to be A world-class, African regional airline and core values of Excellence, safety, Integrity, Passion and Innovation with a Mission to build a safe service-focused and profitable Airline.