Posted on: 18 November 2013 by Mark Howells
Air Cote d'Ivoire has signed a conditional purchase agreement for two Bombardier Q400 NextGen turboprops along with options two more of the type.
Deliveries of the firm order aircraft will take place in August and September 2014, according to René Decurey, general manager, Air Côte d’Ivoire. “We will then decide by November 2014 about taking the options,” he said.
Signing the deal along with Decurey were General Abdoulaye Coulibaly, chairman, Air Côte d’Ivoire and Mike Arcamone, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft (respectively left to right in photo).
Decurey explained that Air Côte d’Ivoire began services on 14 January this year and operates three Airbus A319s and one Embraer 170, which will leave the fleet when the Q400s arrive.
“The Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) came out of deep crisis in 2011. Many companies had left the country during the crisis and the country was divided into two and now needs to be reunified,” Decurey continued. “Domestic flights are important for that and we have identified eight destinations within Côte d’Ivoire. So we needed an aircraft with speed, with unpaved runway capability and the flexibility to do domestic and regional routes, which is why we chose the Q400.
“We have 13 regional routes, which will grow to 19 in Western and Central Africa, some served by the A319s and some by the Q400s. We will also link connecting passengers from the regional services to the domestic destinations through our Abidjan hub.”
In terms of connecting with those bringing passengers to the Côte d’Ivoire from further afield, the only relationship with long-haul carrers coming into Abidjan is with Air France which has shares in the airline. “We are in talks with Kenya Airlines [a close ally of Air France-KLM] about co-operation. They are quite interested in working with us,” Decurey reported.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/LARAnews.net