The Ivory Coast has joined the family of C295 operators with a firm order for one example of the medium transport aircraft.
Airbus Defence and Space announced the agreement with the Ministry of Defence of Ivory Coast today and noted in a press release that: “The aircraft, in transport configuration, will enhance the capabilities of the Ivory Coast Air Force with its proven record of excellent performance in hot and harsh conditions, and affordable maintenance and operational costs.”
Bernhard Brenner, Airbus Defence and Space Head of Marketing & Sales, added: “The C295 has proven its outstanding capabilities in the exceptionally harsh sub-Saharan Africa operating environment. The aircraft will be a game changer for Ivory Coast and we feel very proud to welcome a new operator into our C295 family.”
A single C295W from an unannounced order was seen pre-delivery at Seville last October and may be the aircraft destined for the Ivory Coast.
With this new order Ivory Coast becomes the 28th nation worldwide to operate the C295. Airbus Defence and Space has to date sold 91 aircraft to 17 countries in Africa. The growing fleet of C295s in the North and West Africa region includes up to 35 C295s contracted by Egypt, Algeria, Ghana and Mali.
Ivory Coast Air Force
The Force Aérienne de la Côte d’Ivoire (FACI, Ivory Coast Air Force) was decimated by the French Army’s Licorne force on November 6, 2004, which disabled or destroyed all airworthy examples of the FACI’s aircraft assets.
In April last year PT Dirgantara Indonesia (Persero or PTDI) revealed it was to supply three new aircraft to Senegal and one to the Ivory Coast. The manufacturer announced on April 10 that it had signed a framework agreement worth $75m for all four aircraft.
The Senegalese Air Force would receive two NC212-200 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft and one CN235-220 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, while the Ivory Coast Air Force was to acquire one CN235-220. The final contract was due to be signed around July or August and deliveries were scheduled to take place 18 months after the contract has been concluded. The latest agreement with Airbus Defence and Space suggests the Indonesian purchase for the Ivory Coast, at least, may have been abandoned.
In July last year the FACI introduced to service a pair of An-26B Curl transports, both former Bulgarian Air Force aircraft.