Further to the announcement made last week declaring the purchase of 50 aircraft, Green Africa Airways has said today that it will also lease three A220-300 from GTLK Europe. All three of the leased aircraft will be delivered by August 2020. The leased planes will allow Green Africa to launch commercial operations this year.
Not willing to wait
Just last week, Nigeria’s newest airline Green Africa signed an MoU with Airbus for 50 A220-300s. The aircraft are due to be delivered over the coming years, but that won’t stop the airline from launching service later this year.
Last year, the airline had to delay its launch. It had placed an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft but the worldwide grounding of the type prevented delivery.
But now, having placed the largest order from the African continent for Airbus planes, the airline will finally see service take off. However, the airline isn’t willing to wait until the delivery of its own aircraft. It has announced that it will lease three A220-300s from the leasing company GTLK. These aircraft will be available within the coming months.
Will Green Africa launch in 2020?
The three aircraft are brand new and should be delivered by August. It’s not a surprise that the airline has decided to lease the same aircraft that it has already ordered from Airbus. Low-cost carriers tend to stick to one manufacturer and by leasing the same aircraft, the airline will be able to slot their own aircraft into their schedule when the delivery of the 50 planes takes place.
Green Africa’s CEO Babawande Afolabi said it has “secured inaugural fleet with GTLK Europe that will help bridge the gap between now and when our Airbus order book starts delivering next year. The Team is beyond excited … and laser focused on getting Green Africa into the sky in 2020.”
It seems as if the whole purpose of the leased aircraft is to get the airline in the skies quickly. In a statement regarding the leased aircraft, GTLK Europe CEO highlighted how important the aircraft are to the airline’s plans. Roman Lyadov stated,
“We are delighted to be able to provide Green Africa with its very first aircraft which will equip Green Africa with the capacity it needs for launch in 2020.”
Out with the Boeing and in with the Airbus
In a blow for Boeing, the airline elected to order 50 aircraft from Airbus, rather than an alternative offering from Boeing. Once it became clear the MAX would not be delivered soon the airline could have switched to order another Boeing aircraft. But it didn’t.
It is unclear whether the airline has canceled its existing order for 50 Boeing MAX aircraft. The initial order included the option for 50 more MAX if required. The airline could feasibly retain its existing order for 50 MAX, but not exercise its right for the other 50. In this case, the airline would end up with 50 MAX and 50 A220 rather than 100 Boeing 737 MAX.
When initially ordering the A220, Airbus said that,
“The unique characteristics of the A220 will allow the airline to unlock destinations and route pairs that previously would have been considered non-viable.”
If Green Africa ends up with 50 of each aircraft, it will certainly have a wider range of destinations. The A220 is smaller than the MAX and can take off from shorter runways which suits many African airports. The airline has yet to announce which routes it will operate.