Nigeria’s newest airline, JetWest prepares for take off as storm clouds gather



The nation’s leading carrier was recently taken over by the government to prevent it collapsing. A crumbling runway closed the capital’s international airport for six weeks. The whole sector has been battered by Nigeria’s recession that has driven up costs and made foreign currency scarce.


But despite the gloomy conditions, a new and ambitious airline is being cleared for take-off. JetWest could make its maiden voyage in December, and the team behind it is aiming high.


JetWest founder, Dikko Nwachukwu

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 democratizing the skies.”

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.”

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 neighboring countries in the region.
Nwachukwu is aware of the scale of the challenge. He lists several other industries that would be easier to turn a profit in. But difficulty is part of the motivation, and he believes that aviation is key to dragging Nigeria out of its malaise.

“We know for sure that economic development is tied to transport,” he says. “If we don’t have the transport for business, for friends and family to see each other, we will remain stagnant and we will not see growth.”


Source: CNN


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