Nigerian start-up carrier Green Africa Airways has agreed to lease three Airbus A220s from Irish-based lessor GTLK Europe.

The airline says the pact will enable it to “set course” to open commercial services this year.

GTLK Europe is based in Dublin, and is affiliated with the Russian state leasing company GTLK.

The lessor received six A220-300s in quick succession last year, one in each of August, September and November, and three others in December.

Green Africa – which recently unveiled a preliminary commitment to acquire 50 A220-300s – has identified GTLK Europe as the source of the three additional aircraft.

It will introduce the three Pratt & Whitney PW1500G-powered twinjets by August this year. The carrier says they will “bridge the gap” until deliveries of its own A220s begin in 2021.

Green Africa chief Babawande Afolabi says the company has secured funding “backed by some of the best players in the industry”, stating that it is “anchored” by a group of individuals including former American Airlines chief Tom Horton and Kuramo Capital head Wale Adeosun.

The airline will be commencing operations “on a high” as a result of the lease, says GTLK Europe chief Roman Lyadov.

Nigeria’s government has granted Green Africa its air transport licence, the airline says.