Business aviation services company Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN) plans to build a chain of branded fixed-base operations (FBO) across Africa within the next seven years, and has identified 18 cities in which to establish its new facilities.

In the short term, the Lagos-based company hopes to enter the offshore helicopter transportation market to take advantage of Nigeria’s booming oil and gas industry.

“Business aviation is in its infancy in Africa,” says EAN founder and managing director Segun Demuren. “While there are a great many hurdles to overcome, there is increasing demand for business aircraft here and we have ambitious plans to service this growing market,” he adds.

Demuren is one of a handful of business aviation pioneers in sub-Saharan Africa, where aviation is constricted by the poor infrastructure across this vast territory. “Many parts of this region are not even served by the commercial airlines, so private aircraft are often the safest and quickest way of getting around,” he says.

EAN has an expanding FBO and maintenance facility in Lagos – home to one of the region’s fastest-growing business aviation markets. However, Demuren has set his sights on 18 African bases, including Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and Nairobi in Kenya, which are becoming lucrative commercial centres thanks to an abundance of natural resources.

“At the moment, there are no facilities in these cities to support growing numbers of business aircraft flying there. Our aim is to create a branded FBO in every major city,” says Demuren.

Meanwhile, EAN is in talks with an unnamed operator to bid for oil and gas helicopter contracts. “In order to bid for offshore work, we have to demonstrate we have at least five years proven ability in operating helicopters [in the offshore environment]. That is where our technical partner comes in,” Demuren says. EAN already operates two Eurocopter AS350s, light single-engined types for ad hoc charter and air ambulance work

Source: Flight International