Azman Air A340 Flies From Nigeria To The Bahamas

Azman Air A340 Flies From Nigeria To The Bahamas

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One of my airline crushes (simply because of the business class to economy class seat ratio on the A340-600) operated a pretty special flight last week.

Azman Air operates Kano to Nassau flight

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

The 14-year-old Airbus A340 with the registration code 5N-AAM joined the carrier’s fleet in June 2020. Prior to that the plane flew for Virgin Atlantic, but Virgin Atlantic retired its entire A340 fleet. Rather than maintaining Virgin Atlantic’s interiors, Azman Air decided to reconfigure the A340 with 413 seats — this includes 411 economy seats, and… two business class seats. Yep, that’s right, this plane has two business class seats, and that’s kind of epic.

Azman Air’s A340-600 business class

Historically Azman Air has operated domestic flights, but the airline is looking to launch international operations. As you’d expect, a 400+ seat plane has a lot of potential beyond short hops within Nigeria. However, up until recently Azman Air wasn’t approved for international flights by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

In order to get this approval, demonstration flights are required to make sure that Azman Air is compliant with global aviation safety standards. After first flying the plane to Dakar, Azman Air’s A340 then went on an even more exciting journey:

  • On June 23, 2021, the Azman Air A340 flew from Kano to Nassau in a flight time of 12hr43min
  • On June 26, 2021, the Azman Air A340 flew from Nassau to Kano in a flight time of 12hr46min
Azman Air’s route between Kano and Nassau

While random, it’s interesting that the eastbound flight took longer than the westbound flight, when usually it would be the opposite. It just shows you how different the winds are at that latitude compared to the usual North Atlantic routings.

The crew working Azman’s Air flight to Nassau

While I understand the merit to these types of flights, I’d be fascinated by the logistics:

  • Does the crew serve the NCAA inspectors and treat them like passengers, or what’s it like between the crew and inspectors on these types of flights?
  • The crew and inspectors spent three days in Nassau, which almost sounds like a mini-vacation; was there wining and dining going on there between the airline and inspectors, or?

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.

https://twitter.com/AzmanAir/status/1409426027294638080

The airline held quite a party following this approval, to thank employees for their hard work.

https://twitter.com/AzmanAir/status/1409677031659376641

Now it remains to be seen if Azman Air actually launches long haul flights anytime soon. A single long haul aircraft isn’t exactly ideal — you’re limited in terms of how much you can grow, and if the plane has a maintenance issue you’re in big trouble.

I’m guessing that Azman Air might fly the A340 to nearby countries, but I imagine the fleet would have to increase in size before long haul operations are established.

Air Peace is the only Nigerian carrier operating long haul flights — the airline flies to Sharjah, UAE, using ex-Emirates Boeing 777s.

Air Peace operates long haul flights with 777s

Bottom line

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

Now I’m curious to see what kind of flights Azman Air operates with its A340, and if the carrier decides to grow its long haul flight. If Azman Air does start long haul flights, I need to experience its flagship business class product. 😉

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  1. Abdullahi Garba, PhD

    Congratulations to Azman Airline

  2. Arc. Bala A Tanko

    The flight to Nassau was a test flight.
    Any plane that can fly 12hrs non stop is ready for business.
    Like you mentioned,Amanda needs additional planes to cover for eventualities.
    Nigeria is making a move in the aviation map.
    The government must do something on the tourism map to attract tourists to Nigeria.
    Good hotels and now airlines and other infrastructure is all the country needs for visitors to come.

  3. Arkeen

    Wish them the best. I appreciate that the A340 was probably hastily configured, but looking at it in the curious position,it doesnt quite look like business class seats. Looks suffocating and out of place with all those economy class seats overlooking the 2 lone business class seats.

  4. Ifeanyi. How much is it from kano to nassau

    How much is it from kano to Nassau .round trip?

  5. DCharlie

    Always wanted to fly on Assman Air!

    1. Rajesh

      When will the next flight to Nassau going or it was just a trial one?I am from Nassau.

  6. Emily

    Love how the two business class seats are at the helm of the cabin for all to applaud and gawk in awe at their opulence.

    1. Arkeen

      Quite interesting, if you ask me. Doesnt look real. Design doesnt make sense.

  7. Steven E

    One long haul flight on an otherwise unknown Nigerian carrier - no thanks - safety first in my book

  8. Dennis

    Were those two business class seats also there when Virgin Atlantic was operating the aircraft? I mean, just the two.

  9. Sean M.

    1) Air Peace is not flying to Sharjah anymore. Nigeria and the UAE are presently in a diplomatic pissing contest where they have banned each others airlines from operating.

    2) The purpose of the demonstration flights is theoretically to simulate actual flight conditions, so you would have some of the inspectors playing the role of passengers. Particularly diligent ones might feign a medical emergency or similar en route to see how the crews respond. And...

    1) Air Peace is not flying to Sharjah anymore. Nigeria and the UAE are presently in a diplomatic pissing contest where they have banned each others airlines from operating.

    2) The purpose of the demonstration flights is theoretically to simulate actual flight conditions, so you would have some of the inspectors playing the role of passengers. Particularly diligent ones might feign a medical emergency or similar en route to see how the crews respond. And yes, it is pretty much a casual atmosphere downroute.

    3) I remember one demo flight from London to Africa that I was part of where an inspector rocked up with 400+kg of shopping including a huge double fridge and said he was "inspecting your cargo handling process". He got his fridge transported and we got our approvals. Quid pro quo.

    4) Azman only just got their AOC back after being grounded for some months due to serious safety shortcomings. Even though they have their NCAA license now, I don't expect to see them getting an EASA permit anytime soon.

  10. Eric

    I see they spared no expense on covering the previous owner was VAA. Seriously, I love it I think she is beautiful in VAA livery.

    But we're on Earth are they going to send it? London? Newark? Beijing? (likely). Seems this is kind of a risky time to jump into the long haul international game.

    1. Unhoeflich

      I finally got around to setting up my password just so I could give this comment a heart.

  11. Al Roker

    At that latitude, the trade winds are normally east to west, so you would expect that the eastbound flight would take longer than the westbound flight. It's only at more northerly latitudes that they switch, which is why US-Europe eastbound flights are shorter than westbound.

  12. Max

    So what's the deal with the 2 business class seats?

    Will they be raffled to 2 lucky winners from economy class at the beginning of each flight.

    Or are these seats to be reserved for the pilots to take a nap on long haul flights

Featured Comments Load all 16 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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William

Azman, Jerry. I'm Cosmo Kramer, the Azman!

Emily

Love how the two business class seats are at the helm of the cabin for all to applaud and gawk in awe at their opulence.

Max

So what's the deal with the 2 business class seats? Will they be raffled to 2 lucky winners from economy class at the beginning of each flight. Or are these seats to be reserved for the pilots to take a nap on long haul flights

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