Niger Airlines (6N, Niamey) has revised its fleet renewal plans and now intends to retire its Fokker Aircraft by year-end replacing them with more modern Avions de Transport Régional equipment.

Founded in 2014, Niger Airlines leases two thirty-year-old Fokker 50s from Palestinian Airlines (PNW, Gaza) for use on scheduled flights to the towns of Niamey, Zinder, and Agades.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdoul Aziz Larabou told African Aerospace the Nigerien carrier plans to acquire second-hand ATR72-500s which, should they prove suitable to Saharan conditions, could be upgraded to ATR72-600s.

Once in place, the ATRs will be used to open up international routes to destinations that include Accra (Ghana), Bamako (Mali), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar Yoff-Léopold Sédar Senghor Int'l (Senegal), Lomé (Togo), N'Djamena (Chad), and Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

Thereafter, Niger Airlines plans to acquire a pair of A320-200s for expansion into Central Africa serving destinations such as Libreville (Gabon), Pointe Noire (Republic of Congo), and Douala and Yaoundé Nsimalen (Cameroon).

“We are working with our finance partners and shareholders to buy the two Airbus aircraft, which we should get by 2019," Larabou said.

Beyond that, in 2022, the carrier is looking at introducing its first widebody equipment in the form of a pair of A330s to serve Brussels National and Paris in Europe as well as Dubai Int'l in the Middle East.

Larabou is also looking at establishing partnerships with carriers such as Tunisair (TU, Tunis) and Turkish Airlines (TK, Istanbul Atatürk) although these are dependent on the fleet renewal being successfully carried out.