A new Lagos-based airline, Green Africa Airways, and an aircraft manufacturing company, Boeing, have concluded a deal of $11.7bn for 100 B737 MAX 8 aircraft for the airline’s fleet.
Boeing announced on its website on Friday that the deal would be evenly split into 50 firm aircraft and 50 options, as the airline is set to begin commercial operations.
The deal is said to be the largest aircraft agreement from Africa and will be reflected on Boeing’s Orders and Deliveries website once finalised.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Green Africa Airways, Babawande Afolabi, was quoted to have said the deal would help the airline to offer world-class service to air passengers.
“Today is a historic day for the Nigerian and African aviation industry. 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.
Broadly speaking, this deal is a bold symbol of the dynamism, resilience and soaring entrepreneurial drive of the next generation of Nigerians and Africans,” he said.
According to him, Green Africa Airways is a value airline based in Lagos, with the aim to offer safe, quality and affordable air travel and be a significant contributor to the economic development of Nigeria and the African continent.
The new airline, he said, had received its Air Transport Licence from the Nigerian government and was anchored by a group of senior industry leaders led by a former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Airlines, Tom Horton; the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer, VivaColombia, William Shaw; and a former Chief Commercial Officer of American Airlines, Virasb Vahidi.
Vahidi described Nigeria as uniquely positioned to be the home of the next major value airline.
“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,” he said.
According to the statement, the airline initially plans to develop the Nigerian market and then build a strong pan-African network.
It added that according to Boeing’s 20-year commercial market outlook, airlines in Africa would require 1,190 new airplanes as the continent boosts both intra-continental and intercontinental connectivity over the next couple of decades.
The Senior Vice President of Commercial Sales and Marketing, Boeing Company, Ihssane Mounir, said the growth potential for air travel across Nigeria and Africa was extraordinary with the airplane fleet expected to more than double over the next 20 years.
“We 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.
Boeing will be a trusted partner to Green Africa Airways as the MAX is introduced into their operations and through their long-term success,” he said.