By Chase Hagl
Nigeria’s Newest Low-cost Carrier Launches Operations
Earlier this week, Nigerian startup ValueJet operated its first flight, marking the start of its commercial operations after receiving its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) a little less than one month ago. The inaugural flight took off from Lagos, Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport, en route to cities across Nigeria including Abuja, Port Harcourt, Jos and Asaba.
ValueJet was founded in 2018 with the vision of connecting people and places using modern-day air travel. Although founded during a difficult time in the aviation industry, ValueJet looks to hit the ground running with twice-daily flights between Lagos and Abuja, daily flights to Port Harcourt, and three-times weekly flights to Asaba and Jos. Flights will be all around an hour to an hour and thirty minutes. Eventually, the carrier will operate flights from Lagos to Benin, Togo; Yola, Nigeria and Kano, Nigeria.
ValueJet’s Initial Schedule
The Nigerian carrier will utilize its fleet of three Bombardier CRJ-900 (5N-BXS, 5N-BXT and 5N-BXR) aircraft with an average fleet age of 15.8 years. Two of the aircraft were previously owned by Air Nostrum, a regional carrier headquartered in Valencia, Spain with one coming from Lufthansa.
Each aircraft is configured to seat 90 passengers. Labeling itself as a hybrid carrier, guests will have the option to choose between three packages; ValueLite, ValueXtra and ValuePremium.
ValueLite is the cheapest option of the three allows guests up to one carry-on item weighing under 15 lbs, with no checked bag included. ValueXtra gives customers more flexibility when booking a flight. Customers can personalize their package, with options that include a flexible ticket, airport lounge access and a larger checked bag allowance.
Value Premium customers are granted the full package, a true legacy experience. Guests having purchased this option will have priority boarding, deplaning, and check-in. They will be given a flexible ticket, premium inflight services, exclusive seating, 15 lbs hand luggage and airport lounge access. None of the packages include a checked bag without an additional cost.
The carrier’s primary goal is to make air travel affordable to the people of Nigeria.
“ValueJet’s vision is ambitious. We see a world where everybody can fly. Our aim is to add value from the very first flight once we are set for business operations,” stated Temitope Ajijola, ValueJet’s Head of Business. “Currently, only about 5% of Nigeria’s population can afford a flight ticket, according to available statistics, and ValueJet is looking to increase this number significantly through creative fare pricing.”
ValueJet has a respectable business model with a fairly common goal — to make travel cheaper. It will be interesting to see if the carrier has found a niche that brings about success. The carrier’s closest competitors include Max Air, Peace Air and Arik Air.