Ibom Air, Airbus to sign $915 million A220-300 deal Nov 16 

  • Ends wet lease with Egypt Air next year
  • Set to dry-lease two A220 to replace Egypt Air deal
Nigeria’s fastest-growing airline, Ibom Air is very close to inking a deal with European aircraft maker Airbus to buy 10 A220 jets. This was disclosed on Sunday at the ongoing Dubai Airshow.
The official announcement of the order according to a source close to the carrier would be made on November 16, 2021, 11 am (Nigeria time) to be attended by the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Udom Emmanuel, the Chief Executive Officer, Ibom Air, Capt. Mfon Udom, Chief Operating Officer of Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Company, Guillaume Faury, and top officials of Airbus company.
Neither Airbus nor Ibom Air had disclosed the cost of the ten aircraft order, there are indications that the Akwa Ibom State-backed airline could be spending over $915 million for the ten brand new A220.


Ibom Air’s Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft

It is also an indication of the plan by the carrier to be a dominant carrier in Nigeria, West, and Central Africa as Ibom Air has shown a clear intent to dominate the airline business a little over two years after it started flight operations.

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Airbus last published its list prices in 2018, where a brand new A220-300 was listed with a cost of $91.5 million. In 2019 the European giant made the call to discontinue list prices as airlines rarely end up paying them.

Two of the A220-300 airplanes would be delivered to the airline first quarter of 2023, while all the ten aircraft would be delivered in 2024.

The two A220 wet-leased from Egypt Air would be returned to the North African country at the expiration of the lease agreement in June 2022.

Ibom Air would also dry-lease two aircraft to quickly replace the two that would be returned back to Egypt Air next year June and operate them till the first two out of the ten Airbus planes are delivered in 2023.

Aircraft leases are leases used by airlines and other aircraft operators. Airlines lease aircraft from other airlines or leasing companies for two main reasons: to operate aircraft without the financial burden of buying them, and to provide a temporary increase in capacity.

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The industry has two main leasing types: wet-leasing, which is normally used for short-term leasing, and dry-leasing which is more normal for longer-term leases. The industry also uses combinations of wet and dry.

For example, when the aircraft is wet-leased to establish new services, then as the airline’s flight or cabin crews become trained, they can be switched to a dry lease.

Ibom  Air wet-leased two new A220 jets from Egypt Air to bridge capacity gaps in Nigeria’s aviation sector.

The carrier chose to bridge the urgent capacity gap by wet-leasing the two jets as a stop-gap measure and on June 30, 2021.

The two Airbus A220 aircraft have already been deployed, bringing the much-needed capacity, more comfort, enhanced safety, and increased reliability to the domestic air travel market.

Both leased aircraft are the result of the airline’s decision to fast-track its fleet development plan in order to respond to a surge in passenger numbers, which stretched the capacity of its CRJ900 fleet to the maximum.

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The arrival of both leased jets provided the much-needed capacity sought by its fast-increasing clientele.

While its fleet of Bombardier CRJ900s did a splendid job powering the airline during its start-up phase, it had to adjust its business strategy and fast-track move to higher capacity aircraft. With the introduction of the A220, this capacity squeeze had been adequately addressed.


Ibom Air Logo


Governor Udom had on Saturday said that the state planned to add 10 additional A220-300 series aircraft to the fleet of Ibom Air.

He revealed the plan when he spoke at an event marking the 85th birthday of Obong Etim Abia, the Paramount Ruler of Eket in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.

“As I am leaving here, we are signing fresh agreements that will give us 10 brand new A220-300 Airbus, so that even when I leave office, it will remain an enduring legacy,’’ he said.

Wole Shadare