Nigeria’s Green Africa Airways is off to a flying start with the launch of its commercial operations, thanks to a commitment for the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer.
Last week, Boeing and the Lagos-based airline inked an $11.7 billion deal for up to 100 737 MAX 8 aircraft, evenly split into 50 firm aircraft and 50 options, Boeing announced in a Dec. 21 press release. The agreement is the largest aircraft deal for the African continent to date.
Green Africa Airways CEO Babawande Afolabi called it a “historic day for the Nigerian and African aviation industries.”
“This landmark deal takes us much closer to our long-held dream of building a world-class airline that will unlock a new realm of positive possibilities for millions of customers,” said Afolabi. “Broadly speaking, this deal is a bold symbol of the dynamism, resilience and the soaring entrepreneurial drive of the next generation of Nigerians and Africans.”
The value airline start-up not only seeks to provide safe, quality and affordable air travel, but also “profitably make significant contribution to the economic development of Nigeria and the African continent,” the company’s website states. The airline said it initially plans to develop the Nigerian market and then build strong networks with other African nations.
With Boeing’s fastest-selling airplane under its belt, the company is equipped to do just that.
“The growth potential for air travel across Nigeria and Africa is extraordinary with the airplane fleet expected to more than double over the next 20 years,” Ihssane Mounir, Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales & Marketing for Boeing, said in a statement. “We’re are delighted that Green Africa Airways has selected the 737 MAX to serve this expanding market. We look forward to Green Africa Airways building their fleet with the MAX and taking advantage of the jet’s efficiency and dependability to open new options across Nigeria and the African continent.”
According to the release, Green Africa Airways has already secured an Air Transport License from the Nigerian government and has been backed by a group of senior industry leaders including Tom Horton, former Chairman and CEO of American Airlines; and Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines.
The manufacturer’s 20-year commercial market outlook estimates that African airlines will require at least 1,190 new airplanes as the continent continues to grow and develop its intracontinental and intercontinental connectivity over the next several years.
“Nigeria is uniquely positioned to be the home of the next major value airline,” Vahidi said. “The strategic partnership with Boeing positions Green Africa Airways to expand and improve air travel for customers in Nigeria, and further strengthens the relationship between the United States, Nigeria and Africa.”