Nigerian Startup Green Africa Receives First ATR Turboprop

Nigerian budget airline start-up Green Africa has taken delivery of its very first ATR 72-600. The aircraft touched down at Murtala Mohammed International in the Nigerian commercial hub city of Lagos on April 23rd. Not only is this aircraft the first ATR for Green Africa, but it is also the very first aircraft in general for the budding carrier. The airline expects to have three ATR 72s on lease and has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Airbus for 50 A220s.

The ATR 72 arrived on April 23rd in Lagos. Photo: Green Africa

“This is a great day for all of us at Green Africa and the beginning of what we all hope is a new era in Nigerian aviation. ACIA Aero Leasing has been a very supportive partner and we are proud of this new relationship.” – Babawande Afolabi, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Green Africa, via statement.

The first of three initial aircraft

The arrival of the turboprop marks the first of the three aircraft bound for the airline. These are currently leased from ACIA Aero Leasing. The carrier recently unveiled the
livery of two aircraft in a Twitter post (embedded below) and notes that its third ATR is being prepared while undergoing the final stages of air operator certification.

The three ATR 72s are as follows:

  • 5N-GAE
  • 5N-GAA
  • 5N-GAD

Following the arrival of the aircraft, Green Africa is expected to commence demonstration flights on its route network as part of the AOC process.

The first aircraft that arrived was 5N-GAE. Present to receive the aircraft were a number of VIPs and airline staff, including:

  • Founder and Chief Executive Officer – Babawande Afolabi,
  • President and Chief Operating Officer – Neil Mills,
  • Director of Talent & Culture – Princesse Likayi,
  • Chief Pilot – Folu Oladipo,
  • Director of Maintenance &Engineering – Nathan Smith,
  • Director of Cabin Services – Jasmine Dhillon,
  • Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs – Rebecca Bolarinwa,
  • Board Member – Gbenga Oyebode, MFR,
  • and Green Africa’s anchor institutional investor – Kuramo Capital.

Bookings available soon

It sounds like the startup won’t be flying for a little while, as it works toward attaining all the necessary certification required. However, aircraft deliveries are one sure sign that the process is indeed moving along- giving us proof that this is not merely a ‘paper airline.’

The airline’s CEO says that the arrival of this first aircraft is “a precursor to the completion of our AOC process,” adding that very soon, “customers from across Nigeria will be able to make bookings on our website and take their first flight with Green Africa.”

Mick Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of ACIA Aero Leasing, says that the airline is “looking to provide effective solutions that the current market opportunity brings,” pointing out that few carriers have the same strategic roadmap as Green Africa. Mooney adds that this first set of aircraft will launch Green Africa’s commercial operations, which will start with Nigeria “and eventually, the broader African continent.”

The airline is also eyeing 50 Airbus A220s in the future. Photo: Airbus

Airbus A220s in the future

It was back in February of 2020 that Green Africa Airways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 A220-300 aircraft, the largest ever from the African continent.

Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.

Thus, the ATR aircraft joining the fleet now look to be a stepping stone for the airline to expand into longer-range twinjet operations. Of course, the carrier has yet to firm up this A220 order, so we’ll have to wait and see how things go as Green Africa Airways slowly heads towards its first passenger flights in the months ahead.

Do you think Green Africa Airways will do well in the current aviation climate? Let us know in the comments.