Air Cote d’Ivoire plans on building a domestic network in the Ivory Coast with a fleet of Bombardier Q400s.
The airline signed a conditional agreement for up to four Q400s at the Dubai air show on Tuesday. Air Cote d’Ivoire plans to take delivery of its first two aircraft in mid-2014 and plans to make a decision on converting options for a further two in one year.
The government owned airline started flying on Jan. 15, 2013, with a fleet of two Airbus A319s. It plans to take delivery of another A319 in the next few days and will introduce it into revenue service at the beginning of December. The airline currently serves 13 international destinations in the region, but that number will rise to 19 with the arrival of the third Airbus.
The Q400s are mainly used to restart a domestic network in a country that has not had domestic flights for 15 years because of a devastating civil war. A total of eight destinations in the Ivory Coast are to be added over time. The Q400s are also going to be used on regional flights of up to two hours to complement the domestic operation. ¨Speed and flexibility were the key factors¨ in the selection process, Chief Executive Rene Decurey said. The aircraft are also planned to serve unpaved airfields as part of a political agenda to reunite the country and reconnect remote areas with the capital Abijan.
The order is provisional and subject to the airline finalizing financing. It has made a downpayment for 20% of the investment ($69 million based on list prices for two aircraft). Decurey says a financing plan is in place and needs to be implemented.