A start-up airline, Ibom Air has unveiled its plans to be one of the major players in the Nigerian aviation industry.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the airline, Mr George Uriesi while speaking with aviation reporters at the airline’s inaugural flight operation to Lagos from Uyo, Akwa Ibom, said the vision of the airline is to be a world-class regional.
His words, ‘We don’t have any ambition for the long haul at all. We will settle in the country and after a while, we will go into the region. We want to model ourselves around Comair of South Africa. They have been in existence for about 75 years.
They have been profitable for 72 of their 75 years. They are such a world-class airline that British Airways has put its livery on it. They operate the franchise for British Airways. They have no ambition to go anywhere other than Southern Africa. That is the type of model we are after’.
He disclosed that the airline’s business plan is pretty robust, stressing that the carrier is growing organically.Already, the carrier is starting with three aeroplanes while the fourth aircraft will be added in August.
‘We are going to have the biggest CRJ900 on the continent. The fourth one will come in in August. Against numbers, the fifth aeroplane comes in the first quarter of 2020. But if the numbers are achieved before then, then we can bring it forward.
It is going to be organic expansion against the numbers over the next three years. There are indications that it is going to be faster than slower’.
Asked why the airline opted for cost-effective CRJ 900 airplanes considering that the B737 air the popular aircraft used by virtually all Nigerian airlines, Uriesi disclosed that they did a very robust assessment of the need and what is the right equipment for the need.
“We looked at the B737 and it is obvious we looked at the economics of the operations of the Embraer and the CRJ900 and eventually we opted for the CRJ. The pros were more than the cons.
Investing in more modern aeroplanes means that we have a longer period of more reliable services and in terms of business plans, that is much better for us. Besides, the equipment is the right one for this route structure.”
The airline chief stated that they have invested also heavily on maintenance, adding that at the moment they sent eleven people for training for the Bombardier course on the CRJ900 with the graduation of fresh people last week whom
he said would soon be under the tutelage of one of the most experienced engineering leaders in the country, Engineer Lookman Animashaun.
“We will have expertise. We have already invested heavily on it. We have currently the capacity to manage and maintain the fleet until the time when these guys are ready to take over from the foreign ones”, he added.