Afolabi ’10 Leads Green Africa Airways to Successful Takeoff
Aug. 13, 2021
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Babawande Afolabi ’10, founder and CEO of Green Africa Airways, guided the Nigerian startup airline to its first commercial flight on Thursday,
The 90-minute flight from Lagos to Abuja using an ATR72 turboprop airliner marked
the beginning of regular commercial passenger service following more than six years
of business development.
“We are on a mission to connect more people in Nigeria and Africa to their dreams
and opportunities,” Afolabi said upon arrival of the inaugural flight. “It’s what
kept us going despite the odds over the last several years, and it’s what will continue
to sustain this franchise even after we are all gone.”
Founded by Afolabi in June of 2015, Green Africa Airways initially planned to commence
commercial operations in 2019. However, the airline faced various delays related to
securing operating licenses and aircraft. After receiving its Air Operator Certificate
(AOC) from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Aug. 9, the airline was
cleared to begin operating its three turboprop aircraft between seven destinations
Based out of Lagos, Green Africa Airways plans to significantly grow its fleet, having
signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase 50 Airbus A220 jetliners, one of
the biggest orders ever for the A220 and the first major order from the African continent.
The airline also plans to increase its fleet of ART72 turboprop airliners to as many
as 15 by the end of the year.
Afolabi graduated from Illinois Wesleyan in 2010 as a business and economics double major. While studying at IWU, Afolabi became the first-ever international
student to serve as president of Student Senate. He subsequently was accepted into
and, in 2014, graduated from the MBA program at Stanford University.
A native of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Afolabi founded Green Africa Airways with a mission
to be a quality airline that will better connect people and resources in Nigeria,
and further open access across the West African seaboard.