Airbus and Green Africa Airways have today announced a huge order for 50 of the popular Airbus A220 narrowbody jet. All are to be the larger A220-300 variant. It’s one of the biggest orders for the A220 to date, and the first major order from the African continent.
Green Africa Airways bets big on the A220
The world has been watching the development of Green Africa Airways with great interest, and now it seems like the Lagos, Nigeria based carrier is getting serious about expansion. The airline has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for no less than 50 Airbus A220-300 aircraft to add to its fleet over the next few years.
Airbus says this is the largest ever order from the African continent, and indeed one of the biggest orders for the A220 in general. Founder and CEO of Green Africa Airways, Babawande Afolabi, commented on the order in a press release sent to Simple Flying, saying,
“Together with Airbus, we are incredibly proud to announce the largest order ever for the A220 from the African continent. The Green Africa story is a story of entrepreneurial boldness, strategic foresight and an unwavering commitment to using the power of air travel to create a better future”.
Order announced at a much depleted Singapore Airshow
The order was revealed today at the Singapore Airshow which, due to worries over the coronavirus, has been a mere shadow of what was expected. Numerous exhibitors have pulled out of the show, and empty stands have been converted into ‘rest areas’ for visitors.
Nevertheless, this is a big win for Airbus. Its CCO Christian Scherer, commented on the deal, saying,
“We are excited about the Green Africa project, its legitimate ambition and its professionalism, evidenced by their most discerning choice for their operating assets. The unique characteristics of the A220 will allow the airline to unlock destinations and route pairs that previously would have been considered non-viable. We look forward to our partnership with Green Africa and to accompany their development with the most efficient aircraft in its class”.
What does this mean for Green Africa Airways?
Green Africa Airways has been in development since 2016. It has a goal of becoming a key low-cost carrier in the growing African aviation marketplace, and originally planned to begin operations last year. It successfully secured an AOC from the Nigerian government but lacked an essential component of a successful airline – aircraft.
Previously, Green Africa had placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, along with 50 options for the same. As these were unable to begin delivering in 2019, due to the worldwide grounding of the type, Green Africa had to put the brakes on its launch.
There has been no word that the order from Boeing has been canceled, but the decision to commit to the A220 will be a significant blow for the US planemaker. Low-cost carriers typically have low diversity within their fleets, and tend to stick with one manufacturer. We’ve reached out to Green Africa Airways to confirm the status of its MAX order.
Although airline startups can sometimes fall flat before they even get off the ground, Green Africa seems to be in a good position to make a success of itself. Its leadership team includes two American Airlines executives – CEO Tom Horton and CCO Virasb Vahidi – as well as the former founder and CEO of VivaColombia, William Shaw.
Although there’s no detail on when the A220s will begin delivering, we feel they’re a great choice for Green Africa Airways. Low capacity, high efficiency and flexible enough to land at a multitude of African airports. We wish Green Africa the best of luck and hope to see their aircraft take flight soon.