Startup carrier Air Cote d’Ivoire, which was launched 10 months ago, is planning to expand its domestic network to eight destinations using its newly ordered Bombardier Q400s.

Air Ivoire ordered two Q400s plus two options at the Dubai Air Show. Speaking on a Bombardier Q400 customer panel in Dubai, CEO René Décurey outlined his strategy.

“We started operations in the Ivory Coast in January after 10 years of political crisis, where the country was divided into two. The new government wanted to create a new airline to reunify the country. One of our jobs is to get a domestic network up and running, serving around eight destinations with both paved and unpaved runways,” Décurey said.

However, these airports need to be re-equipped with new instrumentation before Air Cote d’Ivoire can operate there. “In the meantime, we have to put the aircraft on our regional network, serving nearby international destinations such as Conakry, Accra and Lome. We need the aircraft to have speed and the flexibility to operate to virtually every point in Africa. That is why we chose the Q400, because it complements both our regional and domestic networks.”

The Q400s will arrive in August and December next year, joining its fleet of three Airbus aircraft and an Embraer E-170. “One of the Q400s will replace the E-170 on our regional network, giving us this regional and domestic integration. We are looking forward to getting this aircraft [the Q400] as soon as possible because it will certainly reduce our operating costs,” Décurey said.