Air Sinai’s Airbus A220s set to fly for Nigerian Ibom Air
While Egyptair was preparing to resume secret routes from Tel Aviv, a subsidiary of Air Sinai, its two Airbus A220-300s were looking for a new home. Now it looks like they will be heading to the west coast of Africa to join the rapidly growing Ibom Air fleet. It will be the largest aircraft that Ibom has operated since its launch in 2019.
Air Sinai’s A220s find a new home
Egyptair’s specialty subsidiary, Air Sinai, has been an interesting airline to follow. Operating two unmarked Airbus A220s, it was set up to provide connectivity between Cairo and Tel Aviv, and has provided the link since 1982.
Given the tensions between Israel and Egypt, he was not allowed to display the reputation with an Egyptian flag. As such, he operated a top secret service, piloting all-white SU-GFA and SU-GFD A220-300s. However, as relations with Israel begin to normalize, the airline has somewhat lost its focus.
In March this year, Egyptair announced its intention to replace Air Sinai on the Tel Aviv route with its own internal services. This left the two A220s looking for a home. While Egyptair could have incorporated them into the main fleet, it appears that, given the current situation, they don’t think they need the extra capacity.
Now, according to ch-aviation, the pair of white A220s are set to begin operations in another part of Africa – Nigeria.
Ibom Air goes bigger
Ibom Air, based at Victor Attah International Airport in Akwa Ibom State, is a relatively new airline in the Nigerian domestic market. Launching service in June 2019, the airline began service with three CRJ900LR aircraft. In 2020, he added two more, currently piloting a fleet of five of the regional jets.
Now it looks like it is ready to increase its capacity as it is scheduled to receive the two A220-300s from Air Sinai. ch-aviation reports that the two planes will be delivered to the airline in the coming days. Images shared online show that at least one, SU-GFA, has been repainted in Ibom’s livery.
Ibom Air will deploy an Airbus A220 aircraft for its regional services https://t.co/z89cUQ61wR pic.twitter.com/X0sr9xb1WQ
– NEWS FROM 9JA COMPASS (@ 9ja_compassnews) May 27, 2021
– Sitippe AKWA IBOM (@sitippe) May 23, 2021
It is not known whether the A220s will be operated under a lease with or without a contract with Egyptair. At present, GFA shows on flight trackers as always stationed in Cairo. However, it is likely that we could see him make the short jump across the continent to join the Nigerian fleet soon.
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Being a national airline, Ibom Air has not been subject to the same restrictions and issues that plagued many international carriers over the past year. Operating a number of triangular routes connecting Abuja, Calabar, Engu, Uyo and Lagos, it is the most prolific airline on the Nigerian domestic circuit.
Last week, the airline signed a landmark codeshare agreement with fellow Nigerian Dana Air, the first major partnership to take place in Nigeria in more than a decade. Speaking at the unveiling of the partnership, Ibom Air CCO George Uriesi said:
“The alliance will offer increased frequencies to shared destinations as well as codeshare flights to destinations in which each airline does not operate, providing more options for passengers and business retention for both.” companies.
The adoption of the A220 is a further step in the construction of the airline. Its five CRJ900LRs offer 86 or 90 seats per departure, unlike the 140 available on the A220-300. The airline plans to launch services from Port Harcourt later this year and will likely deploy the A220s on the most demanded routes.