VistaJet (stand 230) is expanding its operations into West Africa, seeking to exploit growing demand for point-to-point regional and European business travel.
To date, VistaJet has already secured reservations for 1,200h of flying in the past nine months. Two aircraft are already operating in the region, says founder and chairman Thomas Flohr, with a third to be added next week.
The company's primary operating bases for aircraft will extend a 2.5h flying time from Lagos, Nigeria. The expansion into West Africa represents a long-term agreement of at least three years in the region, with a renewal at the end of each three-year period, says Flohr.
For every 600h of flight time booked each month, one additional aircraft will be added in theatre.
Addressing the availability of infrastructure and aircraft support in West Africa, Flohr says aircraft will rotate in and out of the region on two-week sorties to maximise aircraft availability. Additionally, Bombardier has agreed to station three local staff in Lagos to support the operation.
Kola Aluko, a Nigerian businessman, reached out to Flohr and VistaJet a year and a half ago to expand into West Africa.
Aluko says the lack of availability of time-effective point-to-point business travel in West Africa, along with democratisation, emerging markets in the oil, gas and mobile phone industries makes VistaJet's expansion a natural market.
Kola Aluko (standing) and Thomas Flohr see opportunities out of Africa