Nigeria’s new carrier considers C919 jetliner

Nigeria Air to debut at the end of the year with 737-800 planes, but Nigerian government minister admits studying COMAC aircraft

The government of Nigeria is about to start operations of a new state-owned airline, Nigeria Air, which will replace Air Nigeria, which went bankrupt in 2012.

The flag carrier will have Ethiopian Airlines as a shareholder and is expected to start flying three 737-800 jets until it closes an order with Airbus or Boeing.

However, the options evaluated by Nigeria Air are not limited to the two planemakers. According to Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, the Chinese commercial jet C919 is also considered.

“China and Nigeria have a very warm and friendly mutually beneficial relationship,” the minister told Reuters during the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) annual assembly.

Domestic flights in China

The C919 has just received type certification from CAAC, the Chinese civil aviation authority, after a long period of development. For now, there are only five firm orders from China Eastern Airlines, but most of the 815 signed letters of intent are expected to start converting into actual orders.

Nigeria Air evalutes its future aircraft

The C919 is expected to be an aircraft essentially used in China due to the difficulties in certifying it outside the country. EASA, the European civil aviation agency, has started the procedures to approve it to fly in Europe, however, there is no deadline for approval to take place.

With up to 168 seats, the C919 is a direct competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, however, it is an aircraft with technology and performance considered to be below them. On the other hand, its price is much cheaper than its western rivals.

So far, the only customer for the aircraft of the manufacturer COMAC outside China is the leasing company GECAS.

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