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Air Côte d’Ivoire Readies for AFCON with Leased A320

The Ivory Coast-based airline is preparing for a surge in travel demand with new aircraft and partnerships.

An Air Côte d’Ivoire A320 (Photo: Sm105, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

As the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) approaches, all eyes turn to Ivory Coast, the forthcoming epicenter of the continent’s premier football event. Preparing for the anticipated surge in air travel during AFCON, the official carrier, Air Côte d’Ivoire, recently incorporated an Airbus A320 into its operations on December 2, boosting its capabilities to meet the escalated travel demands accompanying this major sporting event.

Slated to begin from January 13 to February 11, this aircraft addition strategically precedes The AFCON tournament and is expected to draw a substantial influx of supporters into Ivory Coast’s five major host cities: Abidjan, Bouaké, Korhogo, San-Pédro, and Yamoussoukro.

According to aviation website NewsAero, the A320 (MSN 53, ZS-GAR), a 34-year-old aircraft leased under a Damp Lease contract from South African ACMI specialist Global Aviation Operations, is poised to play a crucial role in connecting these cities, primarily operating regular flights to Douala and Yaoundé in Cameroon. Global Aviation Operations, headquartered in Johannesburg, is a notable player in Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance (ACMI) flights and is also the parent company of Lift, a domestic low-cost airline in South Africa. 

Strategic Collaboration with Air Senegal

In parallel with enhancing its fleet, Air Côte d’Ivoire has embarked on a path of technical and commercial collaboration with Air Senegal. This strategic partnership, formalized through a memorandum of understanding signed on Dec. 8, 2023, in Dakar, seeks to integrate the networks of both airlines for extended coverage of West and Central Africa. This was signed between Laurent Loukou, boss of Air Côte d’Ivoire, and El hadj Alioune Badara FALL CEO of Air Senegal.

Under the newly initiated agreement, both national airlines have set the stage for code-sharing arrangements, pooling of loyalty programs, and collaboration on maintenance operations and purchases. The collaboration will offer passengers the convenience of purchasing tickets seamlessly within the sales networks of either Air Côte d’Ivoire or Air Senegal.

“This memorandum should lead to code sharing, the pooling of loyalty programs, cooperation on maintenance operations, purchases in order to optimize costs,” says the management of Air Côte d’Ivoire.

Moreover, this collaboration extends beyond the operational aspects to encompass the sharing of expertise through the training of flight personnel and broader human resources development. The ultimate objective is to create synergy between the two carriers, optimizing production costs and achieving higher operational efficiency.

This collaboration comes in the wake of similar agreements in the aviation industry, reflecting a trend towards increased cooperation for mutual growth and sustainability. On September 27, Air Senegal inked a similar deal with Royal Air Maroc, signifying a broader industry movement towards strategic partnerships

Victor Shalton


  • Victor Shalton

    Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, Victor’s love for aviation goes way back to when he was 11-years-old. Living close to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, he developed a love for planes and he even recalls aspiring to be a future airline executive for Kenya Airways. He also has a passion in the arts and loves writing and had his own aviation blog prior to joining AirlineGeeks. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration at DeKUT and aspiring to make a career in a more aviation-related course.

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