Ibom Air (QI, Uyo) now expects delivery of the first of ten in-house A220-300s from November 2023, according to Chief Commercial Officer George Uriesi.

The aircraft will be delivered in batches, with the first three expected by October 2024 and the remaining every quarter, he earlier told ch-aviation.

Speaking at a news briefing at the Aviation Africa 2023 summit in Abuja, Uriesi explained that Ibom Air had faced a capacity crunch in the first half of 2021. To address this, it explored options for larger aircraft and eventually chose the A220. As a quick go-to-market strategy, Airbus assisted Ibom Air in securing two A220-300s from EgyptAir (MS, Cairo International) on a one-year wet lease, which commenced on June 30, 2021. This gave the airline a chance to "test" the plane, he was quoted by Nigeria's Financial Watch news site.

According to Uriesi, the A220-300 was well-received in the Nigerian market and helped improve the airline's performance. This informed its decision to order ten new A220-300s from Airbus in October 2021.

Ibom Air currently operates two A320-200s wet-leased from Airhub Airlines (RE, Malta International) and GetJet Airlines Latvia (GJ, Riga), respectively, and five CRJ900LRs - three owned and two on operating leases, according to the ch-aviation fleets module. Uriesi said Ibom Air was choosing its aircraft models strategically to enhance its competitiveness in the domestic market.

He emphasised that Ibom Air's primary focus was on growing its presence in the African market, prioritising safety and service quality over intercontinental expansion. The airline has achieved notable milestones, including 2.5 million passengers on July 12, 2023; 34,802 scheduled flights as of August 31, 2023; and IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification in March 2023.

Having received its AOC in May 2019, Ibom Air is wholly owned by Nigeria's Akwa Ibom state government, through its Akwa Ibom Investment Corporation (AKICORP) vehicle.