Kola Aluko Predicts Continued Growth for Private Aviation in West Africa
LONDON, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Nigerian-born international businessman Kola Aluko has commented on the growing demand for private aviation in West Africa, predicting further growth in the regional market.
Citing several factors including the continued expansion of the oil, gas and telecoms sectors, Mr Aluko said the swelling ranks of highly successful West African entrepreneurs and business leaders will translate into more opportunities for luxury air transport.
"There is no doubt that a growing number of businesspeople in West Africa are demanding private air travel, both to and from Europe and within the region itself," he said.
Kola Aluko, deputy CEO of Seven Energy International - an independent Nigerian oil and gas development company, partnered with Swiss aviation firm VistaJet in 2010 to drive its expansion into West Africa. Within four months, seven initial customers had committed to 1,200 flight hours.
Founded in 2004 by Thomas Flohr, VistaJet offers premium private air travel to customers in Western Europe, Russia, the Middle East and South-East Asia. VistaJet is the largest global customer of business aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, with a fleet of over 40 aircraft, all of which are under four years old. A $650 million order for ten Global 8000s - an ultra-long range aircraft - was announced in June last year.
As a long term client of VistaJet, Kola Aluko approached the firm in early 2009 having identified a gap in the market for luxury aviation services in West Africa - Mr Aluko was later appointed to VistaJet's Advisory Board. Speaking at the time, VistaJet founder and chairman Thomas Flohr said that his company was "delighted to be working in close co-operation with Kola Aluko", and hailed his "unparalleled knowledge of the region".
Availability is guaranteed by a system of rotation - whenever an aircraft leaves the region for Europe an identical sister aircraft is sent to Lagos to replace it. Bombardier has committed engineers to Lagos and Abuja.
Turning to the longer term prospects for VistaJet in West Africa, Kola Aluko said:
"The company is in a very strong position following purchases of Bombardier Global 6000 and 8000 long range aircraft that have greatly extended operational reach. We will continue to seek strategic opportunities to expand VistaJet's share in the West African market."
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