Gatwick Airport has announced that Air Nigeria - the national flag carrier of Nigeria – is to launch its first international route outside Africa with a daily London-Lagos route from 1 September, strengthening the links between the financial and economic centres of the UK and Nigeria.
Flights will depart from Gatwick daily at 2230, arriving into Lagos at 0430 the next day, with the return leg leaving Nigeria at 1410 and landing back into London at 2010. Air Nigeria will operate the A340-300, which flies 295 passengers in a typical two-class cabin layout, from Gatwick’s South Terminal.
The UK is one of the largest investors in Nigeria with cumulative investment of several billion pounds by Shell, BG and Centrica in the oil and gas sector. There is also a large Nigerian community based in the UK so the new route will predominantly interest business travellers and passengers visiting friends and family.
Guy Stephenson, Gatwick Airport’s Commercial Director said: “It is great to welcome Air Nigeria and reconnect London Gatwick with Lagos. The UK has a large Nigerian community and there are strong trade and investment ties between the two countries so it is important that we maintain good air transport connections.
“Around 600,000 passengers travel to Nigeria from London and the South East each year so we expect a good take up on this route from Gatwick, especially given the airport has the quickest and most direct link into central London and we are investing £1 billion to improve our passenger services and airport facilities.”
David Amurun, Air Nigeria’s Country Manager for the UK said: “Air Nigeria’s return to its long hub operations with a London-Lagos route is exciting news for passengers. Gatwick Airport has excellent links into London and the South East making it easily accessible for business travellers and passengers wishing to fly between the UK and Nigeria to spend time with friends and family. We look forward to commencing flights in September. “
Air Nigeria’s preference to operate its London-Lagos route from Gatwick sends a strong message that Gatwick is changing and becoming the London airport of choice for airlines wishing to establish and develop a strong London network. It follows other airlines who have, over the past few years, chosen to move their services or entire operations from other London airports to London Gatwick, such as airberlin and Norwegian.
Gatwick also has spare capacity to grow on its single runway, which enables airlines to expand their operations and achieve their own growth potential. This, combined with its £1 billion investment programme and its quick and direct links into central London are helping to position Gatwick as the London airport of choice.