LONDON: Air Djibouti has taken delivery of the first Boeing 737-400 aircraft in Djibouti in preparation for the launch of Air Djibouti’s new commercial operations.
Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti, Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Air Djibouti, along with other dignitaries, met the plane and crew at Djibouti’s International Airport in a ceremony welcoming this important step in Djibouti’s development as a global transport hub.
Bruce Dickinson, chairman of Cardiff Aviation, which provides Air Djibouti with operational management, delivered the Boeing 737-400 personally.
The plane traveled from Cardiff, stopping in Malta for re-fueling.
The plane will officially go into service on Aug. 16, flying to regional destinations initially.
Air Djibouti plans to introduce two BA146-300 aircraft by mid-September and mid-October, and a Boeing 767-200 in December this year, initially operating between Djibouti and London.
Other international destinations are expected to follow soon after, as well as regional freight services.
UK-based aircraft services and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company, Cardiff Aviation, is providing technical assistance and management, and secured the European-level Air Operator’s Certificate for Air Djibouti.
The launch of Air Djibouti’s commercial operations is a crucial element of the Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority’ (DPFZA) strategy for establishing Djibouti as a major logistics center for the region.
With two new airports under construction that are expected to be operational by 2019, the country is building its air transport links to complement its already well established road, rail and maritime transport network.
Bruce Dickinson said: “The arrival of the first aircraft comes at a particularly exciting time for the region as Djibouti leads in spearheading the growth of aviation in East Africa.”
Djibouti is strategically located on the second busiest shipping lane in the world. It is a natural meeting point for the East and West’s global business development.
The DPFZA is working to replicate its success in port logistics in the aviation sector.
Air Djibouti’s commercial operations will further develop the country’s international connections and accessibility.
Djibouti’s current transport and logistics infrastructure program exceeds $15 billion.
Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Air Djibouti and Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority, said: “Today’s flight shows how Djibouti is opening up to become a major global trade and investment hub.”
The chairman said: “With investment in our port facilities, free trade zones, the upcoming completion of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and the launch of sea/air cargo transportation, Djibouti is completing the multimodal transport missing link. In doing so, the nation confirms its position as a trade and transport hub. The establishment of a flag carrier is an integral part of the DPFZA’s drive to achieve excellence in logistics.”
Air Djibouti takes delivery of first aircraft for new commercial operations
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