Azman Air A340 flies from Nigeria to the Bahamas

One of my swarms of airlines (simply because of the business class to economy class seating ratio on the A340-600) made a rather special flight last week.

Azman Air flies from Kano to Nassau

Azman Air is a Nigerian airline that operates a fleet of just five aircraft, including four 737s and one A340.

The 14-year-old Airbus A340 with the registration code 5N-AAM entered the airline’s fleet in June 2020. The aircraft previously flew for Virgin Atlantic, but Virgin Atlantic exhibited its entire A340 fleet. Instead of keeping the Virgin Atlantic interiors, Azman Air decided to reconfigure the A340 with 413 seats – including 411 economy seats and … Yes, that’s right, this plane has two business class seats, and that’s kind of epic.

Azman Air A340-600 Business Class

Azman Air has operated domestic flights in the past but the airline plans to start international flights. As expected, an aircraft with more than 400 seats has a lot of potential beyond short air routes within Nigeria. However, until recently, Azman Air was not approved for international flights by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Demonstration flights are required to obtain this approval to ensure Azman Air is complying with global aviation safety standards. After the plane first flew to Dakar, Azman Air’s A340 then embarked on an even more exciting journey:

  • On June 23, 2021, the Azman Air A340 flew from Kano to Nassau in a flight time of 12 hours 43 minutes
  • On June 26, 2021, the Azman Air A340 flew from Nassau to Kano in a flight time of 12 hours 46 minutes

Azman Air’s route between Kano and Nassau

Although it is coincidental, it is interesting to me that the flight to the east took longer than the flight to the west despite the wind.

The crew of the Azman Air flight to Nassau

While I understand the merits of this type of flight, I would be intrigued by the logistics:

  • Do the crew serve the NCAA inspectors and treat them like passengers, or what about the crew and inspectors on these flights?
  • The crew and inspectors spent three days in Nassau, which almost sounds like a mini vacation; was there drinking and eating between the airline and the inspectors, right?

Azman Air can now operate international flights

Azman Air’s demonstration flights were a success and the airline is now approved to operate international flights.

Our thanks go to the NCAA team, led by Captain Don Spiff, for the perfect advice on the safe operation of the Airbus A340-600

The road to this milestone is extremely challenging and we are impressed with your commitment to ensure we are successful.

This is a win for all of us🏆

– AzmanAir – #LetsFlyAzmanAir (@AzmanAir) June 28, 2021

The airline threw quite a party after this approval to thank the staff for their hard work.

It now remains to be seen whether Azman Air will actually introduce long-haul flights in the foreseeable future. A single long-haul aircraft is not exactly ideal – your growth is limited, and if the aircraft has a maintenance problem you are in big trouble.

I suspect Azman Air could fly the A340 to nearby countries, but I can imagine the fleet will need to grow before long-haul operations can begin.

Air Peace is the only Nigerian airline that operates long-haul flights – the airline flies to Sharjah, UAE on former Emirates Boeing 777s.

Air Peace operates long-haul flights with the 777

Bottom line

Azman Air is now certified for international operations after the airline conducted an Airbus A340-600 demonstration flight between Kano and Nassau. What a cool route, and I know my jaw would drop if I happened to be in Nassau and park an Azman Air A340 there.

Now I’m curious to see what kind of flights Azman Air is doing with its A340 and whether the airline decides to expand its long-haul flight. When Azman Air starts long haul flights, I must experience its flagship business class products. 😉

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