Ibom Air (IAN, Uyo) has inaugurated commercial flight operations as of Friday, June 7. In a statement, the Ibom State-owned carrier said that ahead of its launch, it had been granted its Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Thursday, May 30.

Using a trio of CRJ-900s, the start-up will initially focus on connecting its Uyo base with Lagos and Abuja before rolling out more destinations across Nigeria.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) George Uriesi later told ThisDay newspaper that a fourth CRJ-900 will deliver in August while a fifth is due during the first quarter of 2020.

“We looked at the Boeing B737 while considering the aircraft type we want to use. We also looked at the economics of the operations of the Embraer and the Bombardier CRJ-900 and eventually we opted for the CRJ,” he said.

Unlike other Nigerian operators, Ibom Air has no plans, at present, to venture into the long-haul niche but is considering regional African operations in the medium-term.

“We don’t have any ambition for long haul at all. We will settle in the country and after a while we will go into the region. We want to model ourselves around Comair (South Africa). They have been in existence for about 75 years," he added.

According to NCAA records published earlier this year, other start-ups in the process of completing their certification include SWAT Aviation (Lagos) Aviation and Trebet Aviation (Lagos).