Green Africa Airways (Q9, Lagos) took delivery of its first aircraft on Friday, April 23, as it pushes to complete its AOC certification drive and launch.

ATR72-600 ZS-XZD (msn 1047), which will become 5N-GAE on the Nigerian register, was ferried to Lagos from Johannesburg O.R. Tambo and is one of three such Avions de Transport Régional turboprops the start-up is acquiring in its launch phase. ZS-ESS, which will become 5N-GAA (msn 1057), and ZS-XZC, to become 5N-GAD (msn 1076), will follow shortly. All three are leased from ACIA Aero.

Green Africa's founder and chief executive officer, Babawande Afolabi, told The Guardian (Nigeria) newspaper earlier this month that the start-up plans to deploy up to 15 aircraft between now and 2022.

“In addition to Lagos, we plan to open two to three bases in the country over the next 18 months. This will enable us to connect more cities with affordable fares to customers and bring the joy and value of air travel to a much broader group of people,” he said.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, aside from Green Africa Airways, the only other large-scale turboprop operators in Nigeria are Aero Contractors (a Dash 8-200 and a Dash 8-300), Arik Air (three Dash 8-400s), and Overland Airways (five ATR42-300s including one -QC variant).

As previously reported, Green Africa put previous plans to acquire A220-300s on hold in favour of the ATRs, as the turboprops - seen as less commercially risky - would allow it more time to raise the funds needed to fuel growth.

The general manager for public relations of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Sam Adurogboye, recently told the online news portal Nairametrics that Green Africa is one of 23 prospective carriers that are currently in the process of securing an AOC.

“We are currently treating and vetting about 23 applications. More are still coming to operate in Nigeria because they know and believe that there are opportunities in the sector. Most importantly, a lot of them have seen the way safety issues have been tackled in the sector recently. These are the factors that must have boosted investors’ confidence in Nigerian airspace," he said.

According to Adurogboye, AMCON-backed NG Eagle (XLE, Lagos) is also in the process of completing its AOC drive and is expected to launch soon.