Nigerian startup airline Green Africa operated its inaugural flight yesterday, flying from Lagos to Abuja. Lasting about 90 minutes, this first official commercial service was operated by an ATR72 and is the first of many for Africa’s newest operator.
The green light for Green Africa
After finally receiving its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority on August 9th, Green Africa is now operating regular commercial passenger service. The carrier had hoped to begin operations in late June but faced delays in obtaining its AOC.
The airline’s first official service took place on August 12th from its Lagos base (LOS) to Nigeria’s political capital, Abuja (ABV). Using an ATR72-600 registered as 5N-GAD, the flight departed Lagos at 11:21 as Q9300. Green Africa operates out of the General Aviation Terminal of Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed Airport.
According to FlightRadar24.com data, this flight departed nearly five-and-a-half hours late, with the scheduled departure time being 06:00 local time on the flight tracking website. However, a Green Africa spokesperson tells Simple Flying that this inaugural service was intentionally scheduled to take off at 11:00 local time. This adjustment was likely arranged to accommodate media and VIPs, considering the extremely early original departure time.
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The special first-service
As is common with these special events, there were a handful of activities arranged to celebrate the airline’s inaugural flight. Customers and Green Africa stakeholders were given a special welcome to Abuja with a water cannon salute as the aircraft touched down on the ramp.
Green Africa notes that this inaugural flight also held “an interactive ‘knowledge test’ session” for passengers. The three winners of the knowledge test each won a voucher with a 10kg baggage allowance for their next flight with the carrier.
Upon arrival in Abuja, Babawande Afolabi, Founder, and CEO, Green Africa, was quoted as saying the following:
“We are on a mission to connect more people in Nigeria and Africa to their dreams and opportunities. It’s what kept us going despite the odds over the last several years and it’s what will continue to sustain this franchise even after we are all gone.”
Flights to more destinations begin this weekend
The airline notes that the first flights to other destinations from Lagos are scheduled between August 14th and 23rd. This will see the airline fly its ATR72s to the following Nigerian cities from its Lagos base:
- Port Harcourt (PHC)
- Owerri (QOW)
- Enugu (ENU)
- Ilorin (ILR)
- Akure (AKR)
Green Africa currently operates a fleet of three ATR72s with an average age of 8.7 years. These aircraft are registered as 5N-GAA, 5N-GAD, and 5N-GAE and have all been leased from Irish firm ACIA Aero Leasing. All three aircraft were first delivered to Brazilian carrier Azul between 2012 and 2013.
In time, Green Africa’s fleet will grow to over 50 aircraft as the airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 A220-300 aircraft.