Due to Egyptair’s plans to take over Air Sinai’s Tel Aviv routes, its two Airbus A220-300s were looking for a new home. Apparently, they will be joining Ibom Air’s fleet on the west coast of Africa. Since Ibom’s launch in 2019, these will be the largest aircraft the airline has ever operated.
Air Sinai, Egyptair’s purpose-built subsidiary, has been a fascinating airline to follow. The airline operates two unmarked Airbus A220s between Cairo and Tel Aviv and has been flying the route since 1982.
In light of the tensions between Israel and Egypt, it was not permitted to fly the Egyptian flag on the repute. Therefore, it operated a very covert service using white A220-300s SU-GFA and SU-GFD. Although relations with Israel have begun to normalize, the airline has somewhat lost its purpose.
Egyptair announced in March that it intends to replace Air Sinai on the Tel Aviv route with its own in-house services. Both A220s were left searching for a new home as a result. Even though Egyptair could have absorbed them into its mainline fleet, it appears that, given the current situation, it does not feel it needs the extra capacity.
Apparently, the white A220s are about to start operations in Nigeria, which is another part of Africa.
Ibom Air, based at Victor Attah International Airport in Akwa Ibom State, is a relatively new airline in Nigeria. In June 2019, the airline began operations with three CRJ900LR aircraft. In 2020, it added two more, giving it a total of five regional jets.
Now that it has purchased two A220-300s from Air Sinai, it seems that it is ready to grow. It was reported by that both aircraft will be delivered in the coming days.
Egyptair is yet to specify whether the A220 aircraft will be operated under a wet or dry lease agreement. At the moment, GFA can be seen as still parked in Cairo, according to flight trackers. We could see it soon making the short trip across the continent to join the Nigerian fleet.
Uptake of the A220 is a further step in the airline’s development. The five CRJ900LRs offer 86 or 90 seats per departure, compared to 140 on the A220-300. Earlier this year, the airline plans to run flights from Port Harcourt, and it is likely to use A220s for the most high-demand routes.