LONDON – Nigerian start-up Green Africa Airways has today confirmed a commitment for up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, split into 50 firm orders and 50 options.
The deal is worth an estimated $11.7 billion at current list prices, making it the largest Boeing aircraft order from an African carrier.
The announcement comes in as the airline begins to finalize proceedings to launch commercial operations.
Babawande Afolabi, Founder, and CEO at Green Africa Airways said that “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.”
“This deal is a bold symbol of the dynamism, resilience and soaring entrepreneurial drive of the next generation of Nigerians and Africans,” he added.
Based in Lagos, Nigeria, Green Africa Airways has been established with the goal of providing “quality and affordable air travel and to be a significant contributor to the economic development of Nigeria and the African continent.”
Airline Industry Heavyweights Joining In
The Nigerian carrier has recently been awarded its AOC from the Nigerian authorities.
Helped by a group of industry professionals, led by Tom Horton, former Chairman/CEO of American Airlines; William Shaw, Founder and former CEO of VivaColombia; and Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines, the Nigerian startup has a group of knowledgeable and successful experts behind it.
Both Horton and Vahidi were responsible for bringing American Airlines out of bankruptcy, re-launching the carrier, introducing its new corporate identity, and welcome its first Boeing 777-300(ER) into service.
Vahidi said that “Nigeria is 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.”
Nigerian Aviation Expected To Grow
The airline has plans to develop the Nigerian market with the goal of building up a strong Pan African network.
In Boeing’s 20-year Commercial Market Outlook, it forecasts that the airline industry in Africa will require 1,190 new planes, as the continent continues to grow both intra-continental and intercontinental connectivity.
Ihssane Mounir, SVP of Commercial Sales and Marketing at Boeing Company, added that “The growth potential for air travel across Nigeria and Africa is extraordinary, with the airplane fleet expected to more than double over the next 20 years.”
“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.
Ups and Downs For The 737 MAX Program In 2018
The news today come in a week where Boeing has celebrated many firsts for the 737 MAX program, with Eastar Jet taking delivery of the first Korean 737 MAX plane and with Boeing completing its first aircraft at its new China completion facility.
Earlier in September, Nigerian carrier Air Peace also booked an order for 10 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft in Lagos. The deal was valued at $1.17 billion.
With both orders combined, the Nigerian market is set to receive 110 brand-new 737 MAX planes over the next few years—revamping an industry that has needed an injection of fresh machinery for a very long time.
Today marks yet another successful landmark for the 737 MAX program, putting an end to a year that has had its ups and downs with hundreds of sales and the Lion Air accident that took the lives of 190 people in Indonesia.