New Azman Air A340 Has TWO Business Class Seats

Filed Under: Other Airlines

There are lots of airlines out there with unique aircraft layouts, though I’d say Azman Air is in a league of their own when it comes to the former Virgin Atlantic A340-600 that they just acquired.

What is Azman Air?

Azman Air is a domestic Nigerian airline that was founded in 2010.

The airline has had a fleet of five Boeing 737s, including two 737-300s and three 737-500s. The airline is based in Kano, Nigeria, and operates to nearly a dozen destinations.

Azman Air acquires an A340-600

In 2018 I wrote about how Azman Air was planning on buying a retired Etihad Airways A340-600. While the airline was serious about it at the time, they didn’t end up taking delivery of the plane, and it instead went to Plus Ultra, a Spanish airline.

Well, it looks like that wasn’t the end of their A340 adventure. Azman Air has just taken delivery of an A340-600, in this case one that used to fly for Virgin Atlantic.

The plane they took delivery of is still fairly new, and only had its first flight in 2006. The plane had the registration code G-VYOU at Virgin Atlantic, and now has the registration code 2-EALJ.

As you can probably tell, they essentially just painted over the old Virgin Atlantic livery. You’ve also gotta love the “AA” on the tail. If American Airlines sues for the use of “Flagship,” then surely they should be suing for this as well?

This will no doubt create market confusion — people taking domestic Nigeria flights will be very confused when they see seatback entertainment while flying “AA.” 😉

Azman Air’s bizarre A340 configuration

This is the most interesting part. Azman Air’s A340 has a total of 413 seats, including 411 economy seats and… two business class seats. Yep, that’s right, the plane has just two business class seats.

That’s not a typo. That’s like having a single business class seat and then doubling it.

Below is a picture that seems to show the two seat business class seats. It doesn’t appear that there are any curtains or separation from the rest of the cabin, and for that matter if you want a window seat you’ll have to sit in economy.

Below are some pictures the airline provided of the rest of the cabin (they really went all out to get professional cabin photos of their new prized possession).

Words can’t describe how fascinated I am by this configuration. I’m guessing most of the economy seats were handed down from Virgin Atlantic, and then clearly someone made the decision to install business class.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

“But wait, shouldn’t we have business class?”
“Yes, that’s a great point.”
“How big should the cabin be, though? Most airlines have about 40 business class seats on this type of plane.”
“How about two seats, and we can just put them right in the front center of the economy cabin?”
“That’s a great idea!”

Where will Azman Air fly A340-600?

Azman Air hasn’t yet revealed where they will fly this plane. In the past the airline has talked about launching long haul, international service, though I haven’t heard anything about that lately.

Based on the extremely dense configuration, I think it’s highly likely that the airline will use the plane for Hajj and Umrah charters. The airline has operated some of these in the past, and this seems like the perfect plane for that in terms of the 400+ seats.

Bottom line

Perhaps unintentionally, Azman Air has just created the world’s most exclusive business class product. Their entire fleet has just two business class seats, and I can’t think of another airline with so few premium seats.

It will be fascinating to see how this plane is deployed…

  1. Not true, ELAL has a 737-800 that is configured with 2 real J class seats and the rest is Y.
    It was originally for crew rest but they are sometimes used for regular J service when the specific bird is used.

  2. “It will be fascinating to see how this plane is deployed”

    I was expecting more of a “I cannot wait to try out this new product” from you! Wouldn’t it be an epic trip? 🙂

  3. Perhaps this is meant to solve the problem of: “my Vice President to the Assistant Director of Embezzlement can’t fly in business class??? What horrible disrespect! You will not be allowed to land in my obscure African fiefdom!!!”

  4. @Romanianflyer

    That would be an interesting trip report to see, if only to see what service would be offered for those 2 business class seats compared to economy around it (assuming the plane isn’t used for just charter flights).

    Also, the leg room for the seats behind those 2 BC seats looks great.

  5. More interesting would be whether it even has curtains. Otherwise, the occupants should expect glares from being surrounded by everyone else in Y.

  6. @DaKine:

    That’s exactly what I presume the case to be, too. In fact, it was my very first thought. Though I figured the title would be more along the lines of “His Premier Eminence, the Right Honourable Minister of Cash Siphoning”.

  7. It does make a degree of sense, under EASA and FAA regulations those would count as a Class 3 rest facility, for the purposes of extending Flight Duty Periods (FDP). Class 2 is basically curtained off lie flat seats and Class 1 is a proper isolated crew rest area.
    Obviously it would be Nigerian regulations that would apply but most places follow EASA/FAA.
    Now to do a Haj flight – Lagos to Jeddah would be about 5 1/2 hours. To do the return flight with the same crew, allowing turn around time and preflight time would be pushing it – the limit for an single extended duty period varies from about 11 to 14 hours depending on the start time.
    But if you put in 2 x Class 3 rest seats you can push that up to a flat 15 hours with additional crew members, which would give a lot more flexibility.

  8. They would be tech crew or cabin crew rest for sure and perhaps when there’s some “VIP businessman”

  9. Those are the seats for the son of the Nigerian Oil Minister who keeps emailing people looking for a bank account to funnel his monry thru….

  10. @ AR
    We announce you the King of All African Titles. We are humbled by your greatness; and merely hope that we might be granted a fruit cup, while you luxuriate in one of the two business class seats you clearly deserve.

  11. @DaKine

    You flatter me! Clearly the other seat shall be reserved for you. Who else better suited to occupy that seat than His/Her Supreme Highness, the Right and Good Secretary of Butt-Kissery. 😉

  12. Those seats are probably expensive if for a customer or may go to some important government people. We have to remember that this is Africa where if the government does not have or maintain their own fleet they will fly commercial. Further, this airline likely has no partners.

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