The Boeing 737-400 was provided by UK-based MRO operator and pilot training company Cardiff Aviation, which has provided technical assistance and management in setting up the new carrier and also secured an EASA air operator's certificate allowing Air Djibouti to operate into Europe.
The 737 will be joined by two BAe 146-300s in September and October, plus a Boeing 767-200 for long-haul operations in December - initially to London. Other international destinations are expected to follow, as well as regional freight services.
The 737 will operate regional services, while the BAe 146s will be used for shorter regional sectors, especially to destinations with less-than-perfect runways, which can be handled by the British aircraft's notably sturdy undercarriage and high-mounted engines, which minimize foreign object ingestion.
The launch of Air Djibouti's commercial operations is a major element of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority strategy for establishing Djibouti as a major logistics center for the region.
"Today's flight shows how Djibouti is opening up to become a major global trade and investment hub," Air Djibouti and Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority (DPFZA) chairman Aboubaker Omar Hadi said. "The establishment of a flag carrier is an integral part of the DPFZA's drive to achieve excellence in logistics."
Alan Dron, ATW Daily News