After recently announcing its partnership with Ethiopian Airlines with a kick-off date set for 2023., today The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, stated that they are keeping an open mind on the type of planes that will be added to Air Nigeria fleets.
A further look at the C919 not ruled out
“We haven’t looked at the C919. But if it is as good as the others, then why not.” adding “China and Nigeria have a very cordial and friendly relationship with mutual benefits.”-
The minister for travel and touirism told reporters, on the sideline of the just concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held in different cities worldwide.
The airline is set to kick off with three Boeing 737-800s in 2023, with a plan to ramp up its fleet to 30 aircraft by 2025.
An order for the C919 from China would make Air Nigeria the first customer outside the Asian country to use the plane. However, given the recent history between China and Nigeria, especially since the inception of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, there is a strong likelihood that owing to political affairs, Air Nigeria will use the C919 in a bid to increase the number of planes in its fleet.
Nigeria already attempted to lease the C919 narrowbody jets from the Shanghai-based aircraft manufacturer in 2017, when the Kaduna State Government sought a lease from China to Nigerian Carriers willing to base themselves at the Kaduna International Airport.
Whether Air Nigeria makes the order or not is left to be seen. However, the governments of the two nations have worked very closely in recent times, suggesting a seamless negotiation should Air Nigeria consider adding C919 jets to its fleet.
Nigeria is at present the highest importer of Chinese goods in Africa. At the same time, China, on the other hand, has heavily invested in the African Nation, and a partnership within the aviation industry will be a natural step in the right direction for both nations.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), C919, recently received safety certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and the statement from Hadi Sirika couldn’t have come at a better time. Significantly, an order from Air Nigeria will open new doors to the Shanghai-based aircraft manufacturer, especially in Africa.
Do you believe Nigeria Air should consider the C919? What are your thoughts on the C919 in general? Let us know in the comments, below!