By Roland Ohaeri
Delivering Hope To Save Lives In Nigeria
Nigeria now has a genuine cause to be more hopeful as Allied Air, Nigeria-based and West and Central Africa’s largest cargo airline, recently began the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines from Abuja to different States in Nigeria, amidst the dismay and losses caused by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic in the overall economy in Nigeria and globally since early 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Allied Air, Capt. Val Tongo, has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the past 20 years in Nigeria’s and Africa’s air cargo sector providing efficient cargo services with modern cargo aircraft.
He has also become the pride of Nigeria by his latest feat of leading the first Nigerian airline to
deliver COVID-19 vaccines within the country, using the state-of-the-art B737-800 converted freighter his airline took delivery of in January 2021.
Beginning with Lagos and Abuja early March 2021, Allied Air’s unmatched intervention to deliver Nigeria’s first COVID-19 vaccines made unforgettable history in the region and has brought hope and confidence in the government and general populace.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, emphasized the importance of Allied Air’s B737-800 cargo aircraft as it will contribute immensely to serve Nigeria’s need to move cargo, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines efficiently across the country.
Capt. Tongo’s foresight to change the game in air cargo operations in Nigeria by acquiring the state-of-the-art B737-800 converted freighter has set a new standard in air cargo operation in the region dominated by the use of old aircraft by ad hoc air cargo operators. Allied Air’s world-class accomplishments in the air cargo sector also won the admiration of the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, who has continued to ensure effective safety oversight on airlines and aviation industry in Nigeria.
Allied Air Legacy Of Firsts
- Allied Air is the first cargo-only airline in Africa to attain the IOSA Registration
- Allied Air is the first cargo-only African airline member of IATA
- Allied Air is the first cargo-only full member airline of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA)
- Allied Air is the first Nigerian airline to distribute COVID-19 vaccines for the Nigerian Government
- Allied Air is one of the first Nigerian airlines to operate sustainably for over 20 consecutive years
- Allied Air is the first airline in the world to receive the youngest B737-800 Converted Freighter
- Allied Air is the biggest cargo airline in West and Central Africa
Africa’s First Youngest Owned And Operated B737-800 Converted Freighter
Allied Air took delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 converted freighter in January 2021. The aircraft worth about $25 million (about N8bn) is the first for airlines in Africa.
At a high-level delivery ceremony at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Access Bank Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe and the Managing Director of Allied Air, Capt. Val Tongo, along with some other top dignitaries in Nigeria received the aircraft greeted by a water canon salute.
The freighter, MSN 36846, was the youngest 737-800 converted freighter in the world as at when it was delivered to Allied Air in January 2021.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Goodwin Emefiele, said the aircraft was funded through the intervention fund of the CBN through Access Bank.
Allied Air’s sterling performance elicited confidence in the CBN Governor who has called on other investors to participate in Nigeria’s aviation industry. The GMD of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, also noted: “We are extremely happy to be a part of this endeavor.”
This financial support demonstrates the confidence and trust Allied Air commands among Nigeria’s apex and leading financial institutions.
Capt. Tongo, said the deployment of the aircraft to COVID-19 vaccine distribution is timely and a huge benefit for Nigeria particularly as the need for safe and efficient distribution of vaccines is a national priority. The freighter is also a boost to service quality in Nigeria’s air cargo industry.
At a time that Nigeria is seeking to bolster its cargo exports and local cargo distribution by air, Sen. Hadi Sirika sees Capt. Val Tongo’s astounding performance as exemplary, and urged other operators to invest in the aviation industry to enable the industry double its contribution to the GDP to 5 percent or N450bn annually.
Allied Air – Efficient Cargo Fleet
Allied Air is presently the biggest Nigerian-registered cargo airline and the largest B737F cargo operator in the whole of the West and Central Africa.
Allied Air commenced operations with four (4) Boeing 727 Freighter Aircraft. Over the years the airline has upgraded to include three (3) modern Boeing 737-400F aircraft on regional network based in its main hub in Lagos. These aircraft are of a high category providing a superior revenue payload in excess of 20,000 kilos with ten main deck pallet positions for excellent volume capability.
In January 2021, Allied Air took delivery of one of the two B737-800 Converted Freighters it ordered. The airline expects the second aircraft later in 2021.
Allied Air has kept to its strategy of renewing its fleet of aircraft every 10 years.
Allied Air – Outstanding Business Strategy
Allied Air was founded in 1998 by Capt. Val Tongo, the current MD/CEO and principal shareholder of Allied Air Limited.
Allied Air commenced operations over 20 years ago and has successfully established an enviable reputation as a Cargo Airline with quality and reliable delivery standards and an exemplary air safety record, complemented by the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). Allied Air is proud to have several world-class companies as regular
clients/customers. Allied Air is also a major local air cargo operator in the region distributing air cargo for DHL for over 14 years now, and for Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for over 18 years now.
Allied Air has received letters of commendation from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The Airline is fully authorised and recognised by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority as a National Flag Carrier, the Designated Cargo Airline on numerous routes across Africa under Nigeria’s Bi-Lateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs).
With corporate headquarters and facilities at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Allied Air boasts of impressive Transit Cargo and Warehousing Facilities with state-of-the-art equipment. A highly skilled and well-motivated work force runs the Flight Operations, Engineering, Technical Records, Training and Cargo Document Processing Departments.
The Airline currently employs over 120 staff including flight crew. The majority of its routes are within the African continent, originating from Lagos, Nigeria. Allied Air’s key scheduled destinations include Libreville, Douala, Malabo, Accra, Port-Harcourt and Abuja. It has offices in locations throughout Nigeria, and overseas offices in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Brussels.
Allied Air has a warehouse hub at the Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport, and provides supervisory and GSA services to a number of carriers.
Allied Air – The Future Giant
Allied Air is designed for the longer-term and is positioning to be the leading cargo airline of the future in Africa. Capt. Val Tongo is focused on building an excellent future-focused management team that would sustain the innovations of the airline.
Allied Air is well disposed to partnerships that could create one of the biggest airlines driving trade and commerce in Africa under the emerging African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) project which has created the world’s largest trading bloc of 55 States, with 1.3 billion population and 3trillion USD in combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP), under the African Union’s Agenda 2063 economic programme.