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1st Airbus A220 For Nigeria’s Ibom Air Leaves The Paint Shop

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  • Nigeria’s regional carrier, Ibom Air, has received its first Airbus A220 aircraft, which has been painted with a new livery and has undergone a few test flights.
  • The delivery of the A220 was delayed due to production issues and was rescheduled to November 2023, with nine more A220s to be delivered in the future.
  • Ibom Air has experienced solid growth over the past four years and aims to add more aircraft and destinations to its operations. It recently became a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Nigeria’s state government-owned regional carrier, Ibom Air, has received its first Airbus A220 from the order placed at the 2021 Dubai Airshow. The aircraft was rolled out of the paint shop at Airbus’ A220 production facility in Mirabel, Canada, and officially handed over to the airline on Friday, November 24.

The final countdown

The A220-300 received a brand-new livery ahead of its planned delivery to the Nigerian carrier. The aircraft is expected to enter service for Ibom Air in December. Earlier this week, the airline shared a video on X (formerly Twitter) showing off the single-aisle jet as it was painted with the white, green, and orange livery.

Ibom Air first Airbus A220

Photo: Airbus

Present at the handover ceremony were a number of officials from both parties, including Airbus Canada President and CEO Benoît Schultz, Head of the A220 Program Office Daniel Wenninger, and Ibom Air Executive Director and COO George Uriesi. The Mirabel-built jet was expected to arrive in Q1 2023, but delivery was delayed due to production issues. This was later rescheduled to November. Ibom has an additional nine A220s on order, which, according to ch-aviation, will be delivered in batches. The first three will arrive by October 2024, and the rest every quarter.

Data from Flightradar24 shows that it performed three test flights (registered as C-FOYA) in November at Montreal-Mirabel International Airport (YMX), accumulating about seven flight hours. It will take registration 5N-CCP and is the first A220 owned by a Nigerian airline. It was previously assigned to airBaltic, which recently became the largest A220 customer in Europe.


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Growing the fleet

Ibom Air signed a deal with Airbus in Dubai in 2021 to purchase ten new A220s. At the time, the airline had only existed for about two years and was looking to grow its fleet as domestic traffic started to rebound. As of November 2023, its active fleet comprises five CRJ900LRs and two A320-200s wet-leased from Airhub and GetJet. Ibom is also no stranger to the A220 – it operated two between 2021 and 2022, wet-leased from Egyptair. Speaking about the arrival of the new jet, Ibom Air CEO Mfom Udom said,

“The introduction of the Airbus A220-300 to our fleet is a game-changing leap forward for Ibom Air. The decision to invest in a fleet of highly efficient brand-new aircraft to power our growth plans underscores our determination to offer no less than world-class airline services to our valued customers.”

Ibom Air leased Airbus A220

Photo: Ibom Air

Airbus believes the A220 is the ideal choice for various services, from short domestic flights to longer regional services. In its latest market forecast, the French manufacturer predicted that Nigeria will require nearly 160 passenger and cargo aircraft by 2042. This includes 131 single-aisle jets, like the A220 and A330. The remaining 28 will be from widebody families, such as the A330 and A350.

What has Ibom been up to?

Over the past four years, Ibom Air has seen sturdy growth. It has become one of the few reliable Nigerian carriers and will continue adding more aircraft and destinations in the next few years. It currently serves one international and six domestic destinations. Its first international route between Lagos (LOS) and Accra (ACC) was launched last month. This will most probably be a route frequented by the new A220 once it has arrived.

Ibom Air first Airbus A220

Photo: Airbus

In August, Ibom marked another significant milestone, becoming a full member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). It is among the four airlines that have joined the association. The others include Cemair, FlyNamibia, and United Nigeria Airlines. IATA membership will help Ibom forge international partnerships to continue enhancing its operations.

What are your thoughts on Ibom Air’s first A220 receiving its livery? Please let us know in the comments!

Sources: ch-aviation, Flightradar24

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