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VRE-IVORY COAST MAP AND FACTS
Formed and started operations in 2012. Domestic, regional & international, scheduled & charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.
07 BP 592
Abidjan 7, Cote d'Ivoire
October 2013: Air Cote d'Ivoire (VRE) operates scheduled passenger services on African regional routes from Abidjan and is planningt to launch domestic services connecting Abidjan with eight cities.
(IATA) Code: HF. (ICAO) Code: VRE.
Main Base: Abidjan Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ), Ivory Coast.
November 2013: Start-up carrier, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), which was launched 10 months ago, is planning to expand its domestic network to eight destinations using its newly ordered Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400s.
Air Cote d'Ivoire (VRE), the national airline of the Ivory Coast, has agreed to order 2 Bombardier (BMB) Dash 8-Q400 NextGens for delivery in 3rd Quarter 20114, and optioned +2 more. The deal, subject to finalizing financing, is valued at $69 million, or $141 million, if both options are converted, which is expected in late 2014.
(VRE) (CEO), René Décurey outlined his strategy:
“We started operations in the Ivory Coast in January after 10 years of political crisis, where the country was divided into 2. The new government wanted to create a new airline to reunify the country. 1 of our jobs is to get a domestic network up and running, serving around eight destinations with both paved and unpaved runways,” Décurey said.
However, these airports need to be re-equipped with new instrumentation before (VRE) can operate there. “In the meantime, we have to put the airplanes on our regional network, serving nearby international destinations such as Conakry, Accra, and Lome. We need the airplanes to have speed and the flexibility to operate to virtually every point in Africa. That is why we chose the Dash 8-Q400, because it complements both our regional and domestic networks.”
The Dash 8-Q400s will arrive in August and December next year, joining its fleet of three Airbus airplanes and an Embraer E170. “1 of the Dash 8-Q400s will replace the E170 on our regional network, giving us this regional and domestic integration. We are looking forward to getting these Dash 8-Q400s as soon as possible because it will certainly reduce our operating costs,” Décurey said.
December 2013: Air Côte d'Ivoire ((IATA) Code: HF, based at Abidjan) (VRE) management has approved the acquisition of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development's (AKFED) 15% shareholding by Golden Road, a consortium of private Ivorian investors. The transaction, valued at XAF3.75 billion/USD7.725 million and approved by the Board of Directors on November 30, will allow the Ivorian national carrier to boost its capitalization USD51.5 million. According to a "Jeune Afrique" interview with René Decurey, the (CEO) of Air Côte d'Ivoire, the investment will allow (VRE) to confidently proceed with its expansion plans. However, he did note that negotiations with the Afreximbank for the establishment of a line of credit were still ongoing.
AirFrance (AFA) - (KLM) is expanding services in Africa as it expects the airline industry to grow in the region. (AFA) - (KLM) Chairman, Alexandre de Juniac said, “Growing in Africa with partners is important. In East Africa, for example, we are doing this with Kenya Airways (KEN), our partner within the SkyTeam (STM) Alliance. But we have additional plans. 1, we are helping [Ivory Coast start-up] Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE) and are participating in a project in Central Africa.”
Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE), the West African state’s national carrier, has firmed a conditional purchase agreement with Bombardier (BMB) for 2 Dash 8-Q400 NextGen airplanes.
The transaction, which was announced as a conditional purchase agreement November 18 during the Dubai Air Show, also covers options for an additional 2 airplanes. The 2 Dash 8-Q400 NextGens are due to be delivered in August and September 2014.
Based on list prices, contract value for the 2 now-firmed airplanes is approximately $69 million. If the 2 options are also firmed up, this would increase to $141 million.
The West African nation has been riven with internal strife over the past decade, but is now embarking on a program of national reconstruction. Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE) has been tasked with rebuilding internal and regional routes.
(VRE), which began operations in January, has a fleet of 3 A319s plus an Embraer E170; the Brazilian airplane is due to be replaced by the Bombardier turboprops on services to 8 domestic destinations and others regionally.
At the Dubai Air Show, Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE) (CEO) René Décurey said a decision on whether to take up the 2 options would be made by next November.
Décurey added that its new equipment needed to be of a standard suitable for international routes within a 2-hour radius of Abidjan, the national capital, but also have the ability to operate from unpaved runways.
May 2014: AirFrance Industries (AFI) (KLM) (E&M) added a 3rd A319 to its contract with Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) for component and engine support, exclusive airplane inspections and engineering, plus line maintenance.
August 2014: The Gambian government has once more directed Gambia Bird (GMQ), Royal Air Maroc (RAM), Brussels Airlines (DAT)/(EBA), and Nigeria's Arik Air (AKI) to cease their respective onward services from Conakry, Freetown, and Monrovia to Banjul with immediate effect. The Ivory Coast has taken a similar step with both government and Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) banning all flights to and from affected countries.
With 1,779 confirmed cases and 961 people having died from the virus, West African health officials have now tracked the outbreak's Patient Zero to have been a 2-year-old boy who died in Guéckédou, a village in southeastern Guinea, on December 6 last year.
September 2014: The West African Development Bank (BOAD) will increase its investment in Togolese carrier (ASKY) (AKY) and take a stake in Air Côte d’Ivoire (VRE).
October 2014: Air Côte d'Ivoire ((IATA) Code: HF, based at Abidjan) (VRE) will resume services to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea later this month, airline spokeswoman Ruth Domagni told "Bloomberg" news.
Domagni said (VRE), the Ivorian carrier, which suspended flights to neighboring countries in August as a result of the worsening Ebola outbreak, resumed its Conakry flights on October 20, while Freetown and Monrovia Roberts will resume from October 26.
Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) currently operates 5 airplanes and serves 17 countries, 22 destinations, on 31 routes and 25 daily flights.
November 2014: Air News Item A-1: Air Côte d’Ivoire (VRE), the national airline of Ivory Coast, expanded its domestic network with 3 new routes launched from its Abidjan (ABJ) base on November 24th, all of which are operated by its recently delivered 86-seat Dasah 8-Q400s. 1stly, (VRE) commenced 4x-weekly flights from Abidjan (ABJ) to Korhogo (HOG), a service that continues to Bouaké (BYK). 2ndly, it introduced 6x-weekly flights on the 309 km sector to San Pedro (SPY). No other airline serves Air Côte d’Ivoire (VRE)’s new additions.
Air News Item A-2: Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) has chosen Airbus (EDS) to fulfil its fleet renewal requirements following a selection process that also involved Bombardier (BMB). The Ivorian carrier's fleet is largely dominated by Airbus (EDS) with 3 A319-100s, 1 A320-200 as well as 1 E170.
"Airbus (EDS) has been retained. They are the manufacturer who will renew and expand our fleet," (CEO), Rene Decurey told "Reuters."
This month, (VRE)'s first of 2 Dash 8-400s on order from the Canadian manufacturer was delivered to Abidjan, where it will be based for domestic operations.
Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) is 65% state-owned, with Air France (AFA) - (KLM) Royal Dutch Airlines holding 20% and Ivorian investment syndicate, Goldenrod holding the remaining 15%.
News Item A-3: December 2014: All airlines from Libya have been added to the European Commission (EC)’s aviation safety list, also known as the "airline blacklist," subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union (EU).
The updated (EU) Air Safety List now includes Libya, but otherwise remains unchanged, with no countries removed from the list in this update.
(EU) Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc said: “Recent events in Libya have led to a situation whereby the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is no longer able to fulfill its international obligations with regard to the safety of the Libyan aviation sector. My priority in aviation is passenger safety, which is non-negotiable, and we stand ready to help the Libyan aviation sector as soon as the situation on the ground will allow for this.”
Bulc said she was pleased to see that “progress has been made in a number of countries whose carriers are on list, notably the Philippines, Sudan, Mozambique, and Zambia. Hopefully, this progress can lead to a positive decision in the future.”
The updated air safety list includes all airlines certified in 21 states, for a total of 308 airlines fully banned from (EU) skies: Afghanistan, Angola, Benin, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 3 airlines that operate under restrictions and conditions), Indonesia (with the exception of 5 airlines), Kazakhstan (with the exception of 1 airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Nepal, Philippines (with the exception of 2 airlines), Sierra Leone, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sudan, and Zambia. The list also includes 2 individual airlines: Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname) and Meridian Airways ((CPB) (Ghana), for an overall total of 310 airlines.
The list also includes 10 airlines that may only operate into the (EU) using specific aircraft types. These are Air Astana (AKZ) (Kazakhstan), Afrijet (FRJ), Gabon Airlines and SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (KOY) (Democratic People's Republic of Korea), Airlift International (AGH) (Ghana), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (IRN), TAAG Angolan Airlines (ANG) and Air Madagascar (MAD).
The (EU) air safety list covers airlines that are either considered to be unable to respect international aviation safety standards, or whose Civil Aviation Authorities (CAA)s are deemed unable to provide the necessary safety oversight as foreseen by international aviation safety rules. Some are banned outright from operating to the (EU), while others can only do so under very strict conditions. The list also serves as a tool to warn the traveling public, when traveling in other parts of the world.
The (EU) air safety committee, which draws up the list, consists of aviation safety experts from the Commission, each of the 28 member states of the Union, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
April 2015: Air Côte d'Ivoire ((IATA) Code: HF, based at Abidjan) (VRE) has firmed up 2 outstanding Dash 8-Q400 options with Bombardier ((ICAO) Code: BBA, based at Montréal Trudeau) (BMB), in a deal valued at approximately USD69 million at current list prices. The 2 options were part of (VRE)'s original contract announced in 2013, that included a firm order for 2 Dash 8-400s, which have since been delivered.
As such, Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) uses its Dash 8-Q400s on flights to Bouaké, Korhogo, and San Pedro domestically and Accra, Conakry, Cotonou, and Lagos internationally.
May 2015: News Item A-1: Nurses and doctors at St Joseph's Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, celebrated May 9th after the announcement that Liberia is Ebola free. The outbreak that began in in March 2014 was the world's worst since Ebola's discovery in 1976.
There were more >4,700 deaths attributed to Ebola in Liberia, more than in any other nation, as the disease swept through densely populated neighborhoods of the capital city, Monrovia.
There was a note of caution from the World Health Organization (WHO) because neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea contribute to struggle with the disease.
News Item A-2: Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE) ends E170 operations.
July 2015: The Nigerian government on July 10 said it has no plan to ban Liberian airlines from coming into the country, following a fresh outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in the West African nation.
A fresh case of Ebola was detected in Liberia, nearly two months after the West African country was declared free of the virus by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Liberian authorities are monitoring at least 100 people thought to have been in contact with a 17-year-old boy, Abraham Memaigar, who died on June 28 in Margibi County, Liberia.
Spokesperson for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Fan Ndubuoke said in Lagos, the country's commercial hub, that both inbound and outbound passengers were being screened for the virus by Port Health Officials.
He told reporters that the Ebola Prevention and Control was a collaborative effort by relevant agencies, saying adequate facilities were in place at the Port Health Office, where inbound and outbound passengers were adequately screened.
According to him, rather than banning the airlines, the various agencies have intensified necessary preventive measures at all the international airports in the country.
He assured the public and intending passengers that all government agencies were on their guard not to allow any passenger who refused to be screened into the country.
He added that the authority would not hesitate to sanction any airline that violated the mandatory screening at its various check points.
August 2015: Bouaké, Ivory Coast is to see maiden international flights next year.
October 2015: News Item A-1: A West African bank is to up its stake in Air Côte d'Ivoire (VRE).
News Item A-2: (VRE) currently operates 6 aircraft, to 18 countries, to 26 destinations, on 37 routes and 32 destinations.
February 2016: Air Côte d’Ivoire (VRE) on February 15 commenced services between Abidjan (ABJ) and Abuja (ABV) in Nigeria. The 1,299 km sector will be operated 3x-weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) with (VRE) using its fleet of Dash 8-Q400s on the route. Currently, no other carrier serves this airport pair.
April 2016: Ivory Coast national carrier, Air Côte D’Ivoire (VRE), has ordered 2 Airbus A320ceo and 2 A320neo aircraft.
February 2017: News Item A-1: West African flag carrier Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE) has signed up for in-flight passenger connectivity services from air transport Information Technology (IT) specialist SITAONAIR.
The agreement will see (VRE)’s new Airbus A320s being equipped with SITAONAIR’s Internet ONAIR and Mobile ONAIR systems.
The former offers passengers in-flight internet access from their personal devices and gives airlines the potential to generate ancillary revenues, while the latter gives travelers an in-flight mobile phone, text and data service.
SITAONAIR personnel will start to activate the 2 systems from June 2017 on 5 new A320s equipped with Airbus’s Airline Network Architecture (ALNA) server platform. The services will use Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband data service, which SITAONAIR will operate as service provider.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2019. “With the 1st 5 of Africa’s airlines to achieve in-flight connectivity in the continent using SITAONAIR as their service provider of choice, [Air Cote d’Ivoire] is part of an in-flight connectivity revolution gaining momentum across Africa, as the airlines in the region look to offer the same quality of product of passengers as other regions, like their Middle East neighbors,” SITAONAIR’s commercial regional VP for Middle East and Africa, Stephan Egli said.
“Passengers are telling us they want access to internet connectivity from ground-to-air, to enable them to sustain their on-line lives, wherever they fly,” Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE)’s (CEO) René Decurey said.
News Item A-2: Air Cote d’Ivoire (VRE)’s personnel:
87 Flight Crew (FC); 174 Cabin Attendants (CA): 66 Maintenance Technicians (MT), Other Personnel 251 = Total 578.