The launch date for Nigerian start-up Green Africa Airways (Q9, Lagos) has been delayed to early 2021, with the airline currently going through its AOC certification process, a spokesperson confirmed.

“We’re working with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to get our certification finalised,” the spokesperson told ch-aviation, but declined to elaborate. Attempts to reach the NCAA were unsuccessful.

Green Africa in a statement said it had received its Air Transport License (ATL) from the Nigerian government and had signed a strategic partnership with Nigeria’s First City Monument Bank (FCMB), which gives the airline access to short- to medium-term liquidity.

According to the agreement, FCMB will provide Green Africa with up to USD31 million in a combination of working capital and credit during the pre-sales period beginning early 1Q21. Revenue from customer sales will be deposited exclusively at Green Africa’s operating account with FCMB. The lender’s payment solutions are to be integrated into Green Africa’s ticketing platform and the parties will explore other areas of commercial opportunities. They will also work together to provide loans to develop aviation talent, including the training of pilots, crew and engineers.

The airline earlier this year placed an order for fifty A220-300s, Airbus's largest order from an African customer. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2021. To bridge the gap before the first delivery, Green Africa plans to lease three A220-300s from GTLK - State Transport Leasing. In August, the airline appointed Kiran Koteshwar, ex-Chief Financial Officer of SpiceJet (SG, Delhi Int'l), as its new Group CFO.

Green Africa founder and Chief Executive Officer Babawande Afolabi said the partnership provided the carrier with additional tailwind to launch and scale-up in the years ahead. FCMB Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Adam Nuru said: ”Green Africa, with the support of its high-quality equity backers, a world-class team on the ground, and landmark partnership with Airbus, has a unique opportunity to redefine the aviation landscape in the region. This strategic partnership provides Green Africa with further access to short to medium-term liquidity and an institutional platform for scaling. It also positions FCMB as a preferred long-term anchor player in the future of an industry that will be key to realising the economic potentials of Nigeria and the broader African continent.”

FCMB is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which obtained a USD50 million loan from International Finance Corporation in June to support companies affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund is from a USD8 billion credit facility launched in March by the World Bank’s private-lending arm to support companies impacted by COVID-19.

FCMB said in May it plans to restructure half of its loans after the pandemic affected corporate clients and impairment charges surged 61% to NGN3.7 billion Naira (USD9.6 million) in 1Q20.