Air Djibouti (Djibouti) is preparing for its next stage of growth the chairman of technical partner, Cardiff Aviation, has revealed.

Launched in August 2015 using a Fokker 27(F) chartered from Astral Aviation (8V, Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta), Air Djibouti eventually branched into the passenger services niche using a single B737-400 chartered from VVB Aviation Malta (IV, Malta Int'l). Its only passenger aircraft, at present, is a BAe 146-300 wet-leased from South Africa's Fair Aviation (2F, Lanseria) but which was ferried back to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo this week.

With its launch phase now completed, Bruce Dickinson told Logistics Update Africa in an interview that Air Djibouti was now looking to acquiring its own aircraft.

“We are actually looking at purchasing a new aircraft," he said. "We are in the middle of looking at a 70-seat regional airliner of some description. We are fairly well advanced on that. There will be two of those and what they will enable us to do is to fly all the regional routes like Addis Ababa, Mogadishu, perhaps Yemen.”

The Djibouti government's VIP B767-200(ER), which is currently in Cardiff undergoing maintenance, is due to deliver next month. Once in service, it will be used for flights to Europe.

In addition to the passenger jets, Dickinson said Air Djibouti is also looking to add a B737 freighter to its fleet as part of plans to develop Djibouti into a regional African and Arabian peninsula cargo hub.

“It would be fantastic if we could get a freighter operation up and running. But the limitation on the freighter operation is actually not the operation of the aircraft; the limitation is of the infrastructure around the [Ambouseli] airport itself,” he said.