Nigeria’s newest airline cleared for take-off, vows to crash air fares

Posted by News Express | 15 June 2017 | 3,684 times

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•JetWest founder Dikko Nwachukwu.

A new and ambitious airline is being cleared for take-off by Nigerian aviation authorities.

JetWest could make its maiden voyage in December, and the team behind it is aiming high.

The venture’s founder is Dikko Nwachukwu, a serial entrepreneur with a background in aviation. His mission statement is simple.

“The guiding vision for JetWest is to make air travel accessible for more people,” says Nwachukwu. “We are about democratising the skies.”

Just 15.2 million passengers passed through Nigerian airports in 2016, according to official statistics.

Nwachukwu sees opportunity in the vast market unserved by existing airlines. Nigeria has by far the largest population in Africa, and the entrepreneur draws inspiration from rapid progress in another technology field.

“We want to do for travel what cell phones did for telecoms,” he says bullishly. “Fifteen years ago there were less than one million phone lines in Nigeria and now there are 100 million...We could have 100 million (air) travelers, and I know JetWest will be in the middle of the revolution.”

JetWest aims to project a fresh and vibrant image. The company’s social media accounts are already trailing colorful cocktails and memes ahead of launch, aimed at youthful, savvy consumers.

Such consumers may also be attracted to the airline’s core selling point: value. JetWest will offer a pared down service “more Easyjet than Etihad” at rock-bottom prices.

“We will cut out everything not core to the business and focus on getting fliers from A to B,” says Nwachukwu. “Beyond that, we will have unbundled services so customers can pick and choose what they want.”

Given the high cost and risk involved with launching a fleet in Nigeria’s current economic climate, the entrepreneur is mindful of the need to find efficiencies. He suggests the company might pool resources with other airlines.

More ambitiously, the business model will rely on innovation. JetWest is developing its own proprietary technologies in-house, drawing on the best talent from Nigeria’s renowned start-up scene, in a conscious effort to boost local industry as well to avoid costly rental equipment. The company intends to eventually supply technology to other airlines.

The new airline’s strategy is for rapid expansion.

If all goes to plan, JetWest will launch this year with 100 employees and a fleet of three Airbus A320 jets flying local routes in Nigeria.

That could expand to 15 planes within three years, and 40 within five, carrying over 10 million passengers a year. The company hopes this will cover neighbouring countries in the region.

•Adapted from a CNN report.



Source: News Express

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