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Companies - Profiles - Startup - May 17, 2021

Babawande Afolabi: 7 Things You Should Know About this 38-Year-Old Nigerian Airline Owner

Babawande Afolabi, 38, is perhaps the youngest airline owner in Nigeria. He launched an air transportation business in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve center, amid the Coronavirus storm that grounded the global aviation industry for about three months.

Although Afolabi’s airline, Green Africa Airways, was scheduled to begin commercial operations in 2020, the pandemic aborted the plans. Nevertheless, all is set for the airline to hit the skies anytime soon – starting with seven local destinations, including Lagos, Abuja, Portharcourt, Akure, Enugu, and Ilorin.

As part of its efforts to launch last year, the company had ordered fifty A220-300s aircraft from Airbus and also committed to leasing an additional three of the aircraft type from GTLK Europe, a leasing company.

“It has been an incredible journey thus far – a Series A round of funding backed by some of the best players in the industry; a strong management team on the ground with a nuanced understanding of the local market; a marque strategic partnership with Airbus for 50 firm A220-300s; and now a secured inaugural fleet with GTLK Europe that will help bridge the gap between now and when our Airbus order book starts delivering next year. The gTeam is beyond excited about and laser focused on getting Green Africa into the sky in 2020.” Afolabi had said at the time.

On May 14, 2021, Green Africa announced the arrival of its second aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, setting the stage for its flight operations.

On the airline’s imminent flight operations, Afolabi said his company is “crafting a network plan that will afford more customers the opportunity to pursue their economic interest or simply spend more time with family & friends.”

Here are 7 things you should know about Babawande Afolabi and his company

1. Afolani was born in Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria.

2. He got a Wesleyan fund scholarship to attend Illinois Wesleyan University in the United States in 2007. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics in 2010.

3. He bagged an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, United States, in 2014.

4. Prior to launching Green Africa Airways, he was an investment banker in the US.

5. He’s also the founder of Teatime Capital, a venture capital initiative focused on making micro-equity investments to ultra-small Nigerian businesses.

6. Asides Afolabi, who remains the chairman of Green Africa Airways, other senior industry leaders on the company’s board are; Tom Horton, former Chairman & CEO of American Airlines; Wale Adeosun, Founder & CEO of Kuramo Capital; William Shaw, CEO of InterJet; Virasb Vahidi, former CCO of American Airlines and Gbenga Oyebode, co-founder and chairman of Aluko & Oyebode, one of the largest integrated law firms in Nigeria.

7. Green Africa has received its Air Transport License (ATL) from the Nigerian Government.



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