Ibom Air Starts Growth Spurt As First A220 Arrives

Nigerian regional carrier Ibom Air has started to take delivery of a batch of 10 Airbus A220-300s, as the airline prepares to significantly expand its operations.

Ibom Air received its AOC from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in May 2019 and launched services the following month. The airline was established as part of Akwa Ibom State’s economic transformation plan. The airline is wholly owned by the Akwa Ibom State Government but is a limited liability company and operates as an independent private enterprise.

Its initial equipment consisted of three Bombardier (now Mitsubishi) CRJ900 regional jets, with two more being added later, which were then joined by a pair of Airbus A320ceo. The A320s were brought in as a temporary measure to increase capacity while awaiting the arrival of the A220s, which were ordered during the 2021 Dubai airshow.

In the interim, Ibom Air tried the A220 for size in the form of two of the crossover jets leased in from EgyptAir for around a year, with the aircraft proving popular.

Ibom Air currently flies to seven destinations within Nigeria – Uyo, Abuja, Calabar, Enugu, Lagos and Port Harcourt, as well as the Ghanaian capital, Accra. As the new aircraft start to arrive, they will give Ibom Air the ability to extend its route map over a wider group of African nations.

Speaking at the handover of the first A220-300 at Airbus Canada’s Mirabel plant, Ibom Air CEO Mfon Udom, described the introduction of the aircraft as “a game-changing leap forward.” 

Alan Dron

Based in London, Alan is Europe & Middle East correspondent at Air Transport World.