Tag Archive | Okada Air

From The Olden Days: Bac 1-11s in Nigeria

After the Nigerian aviation market was liberalised in the early 1990s, many private airlines emerged and the Bac 1-11 became one of their favourite aircraft. Kabo Air and Okada Air were the largest operators and served many airports for relatively low fares. In 2002 the Bac 1-11 was banned in Nigeria after a couple of ghastly accidents in which the aircraft was involved. Many of the airlines went down and the Bac 1-11s were stored at airports around the country. Most notably in Benin, where derelict aircraft can still be seen around the old Okada Air hangar.

A comprehensive list of Bac 1-11 operators in Nigeria can be found here. All of them were second-hand aircraft, although in 1970 a Bac 1-11 was painted in Nigeria Airways colours for demonstration flights. The national carrier never ordered the aircraft.

Bac 1-11 in Nigerian Airways colours for demo flights in 1970 (Copyright http://www.bac1-11jet.co.uk)

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From The Olden Days: Zenith Air, Triax Airlines and Sosoliso Airlines

Nigerian airlines mostly have their maintenance base in Abuja, Kano or Lagos, the major airports in the country. Exceptions in the past were Okada Air that was based in Benin City and Oriental Airlines in Owerri. City Link Airlines (1993-1996) was the only airline to operate from Port Harcourt with an EMB-110 Bandeirante. Kaduna is still the home base of Chanchangi Airlines, although the airline plans to build a new hangar at Abuja.

Some of the airlines that were established in the early nineties, after the airline deregulation in Nigeria, Zenith Air (1992), Triax Airlines (1992), and Sosoliso Airlines (1994) had Enugu Airport as home base. Zenith Air was a short-lived carrier and operated two DC-9s. The former director of Zenith Air is now the CEO of the announced low-cost carrier Red 1 Xpress. Triax Airlines operated three B727s until the late nineties, while Sosoliso Airlines commenced scheduled operations in 2000 with a B727 wet-leased from JAT Airways. The airline subsequently flew with two DC-9s and two MD-80s. The last airline was grounded in December 2005, after a crash landing at Port Harcourt in which 110 passengers and crew were killed.

From The Olden Days: Okada Air

There is a picture of a Shorts SH-330 (5N-AOX) in the Okada Air colours, with additional ‘Niger Express’ titles. I cannot recall any sighting of this aircraft in Nigeria – just as of this DC-10 (5N-OGI) in Okada Air colours.

Okada Air - Shorts SH-330 - 5N-AOX (Copyright Michael coulson)

Okada Air was the biggest privately owned airline in Nigeria so far. It popularised air travel in the late eighties and early nineties of the 20th century, operating a huge fleet of BAC 1-11s and B727s. Most of the aircraft are still stored at Benin Airport today. Its owner wrote a short history about the airline.