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Nigeria's SkyBird completes fleet to open for charter
SkyBird Air, based at Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos, has been granted a Nigerian AOC and expects to begin charter operations during May.

SkyBird Air, based at Murtala Mohammed airport in Lagos, has been granted a Nigerian AOC and expects to begin charter operations during May.

The company's third Dornier 328 jet conversion was delivered in early April, completing a contract worth over €14 million in total which saw Germany's 328 Support GmbH refurbish the aircraft into two 32-seat passenger airliner conversions and a vip configured 328DBJ.

The vip variant has long-range tanks, increasing its overall range with four passengers to just under 2,000nm. The cabin boasts a renovated interior with high quality leather and suede seat covers in neutral tones complemented by red seat belts, a look that is consis-tent with the SkyBird Air brand. The new interiors, all of which were designed by Robin Dunlop of CTM Design who regularly works with the 328 team, are complemented by a wood veneer decorative panel, a full HD entertainment system, and a satcom WiFi system. LED lights were also incorporated internally and externally.

SkyBird is aiming to take to take business jet operations in Nigeria to a new level, and is determined that luxury and safety will be hallmarks of its charter operations. In addition to the 328s, the initial fleet includes two Gulfstream jets, with further unspecified aircraft set to be added soon after operations begin.

As the type certificate holder, 328 Support is confident that SkyBird will sign up for a long-term maintenance contract. It is currently also in discussions with another African airline, which already has a single Dornier 328, for a similar contract, and is exploring the opportunity to source three more Dornier 328 aircraft on that company's behalf.

SpringChild Investments signs for two aircraft

SpringChild Investments, a Lagos-based privately owned business, has also placed an order with 328 Support for a Dornier aircraft conversion. The aircraft will boast four forward facing business class seats at the front, complemented by a further 23 seats in an economy format in the aft cabin. The four business seats will be engineered to slide away from each other after take-off so improving passenger comfort once the aircraft is in flight.

The interior conversion and modifications will be completed by 328 at its Oberpfaffenhofen headquarters, and SpringChild Investments will have the external paint work on another Dornier 328 completed at sister company JETS Bournemouth in the UK. This aircraft is due to be commenced in late May for delivery in early June 2013.

“We are pleased to have been able to deliver these 328 conversions to the rapidly growing business aviation sector in Nigeria,” says Dave Jackson, md, 328 Group. “It has become an important area for us and we are continually seeking opportunities to expand in the region.”

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