Cardiff Aviation to provide Air Djibouti with 737-400

In its first commercial flight since ceasing operations in 2002, Air Djibouti will be launching revenue services using a Boeing 737-400, provided by Cardiff Aviation company VVB Aviation

The aircraft is scheduled to leave St Athan airport in Wales on 9 August
The aircraft is scheduled to leave St Athan airport in Wales on 9 August

Air Djibouti is to launch revenue services on 15 August using a Boeing 737-400 that will be provided by Cardiff Aviation company VVB Aviation Malta.

The aircraft is scheduled to leave St Athan airport in Wales on 9 August, stopping in Malta to collect additional air and cabin crew, before arriving in Djibouti.

Operations are set to be expanded around the end of this year with a 767-200ER.

Air Djibouti, which is also known as Red Sea Airlines, is the flag carrier of Djibouti and first flew in 1963. It ceased all operations 2002 but in 2015 the airline was relaunched as a cargo airline.

Cardiff Aviation chairman Bruce Dickinson describes the type as a "perfect, and very robust aircraft" for the nation's aviation requirements.

According to Dickinson, initial services will include transporting pilgrims to the annual Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The service, he said, will start after in-country testing of infrastructure including ticketing and baggage handling.

Dickinson added that other likely near-term destinations are Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Kenya, and scheduled services to Dubai should commence "in fairly short order."

Following the lead aircraft's introduction, he says, Air Djibouti could wet-lease a BAe 146 or Avro RJ regional jet to build local services before its 767-200ER becomes available.

According to reports, the wide-body is already at Cardiff Aviation's St Athan facility, where it is to undergo a heavy C-check and also receive a new interior. After its arrival, the aircraft will begin operations to London Gatwickairport.

Dickinson says the launch of operations for Air Djibouti should prove Cardiff Aviation's "airline in a box" concept, which includes the provision of aircraft, crews, maintenance and insurance, as well as personnel training, in adherence to European Aviation Safety Agency standards.

VVB Aviation secured a Maltese Air Operators Certificate (AOC) as part of plans to enter the European ACMI/charter market in July of last year. Cardiff Aviation owns a 50% stake in VVB.

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