Etihad carrier is continuing its spread into emerging markets with the launch of a service to Nigeria from its Abu Dhabi hub.
The airline will operate four services a week to Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, and Abuja, the country’s capital city. The airline is aiming to begin the service in March 2009.The two Nigerian cities join Johannesburg, Cairo, Casablanca and Khartoum as part of Etihad’s route network in Africa. The addition of the new flights is also expected to increase bilateral trade between the UAE and Nigeria, for business travellers and freight forwarders.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive, said, “The launch of the first flights between Abu Dhabi and Nigeria will be a proud achievement for Etihad Airways which will continue the impressive growth of the airline’s global flight network.
“The new service will support UAE-Nigeria trade ties and also provide a frequent service for West-African based air travellers looking to visit the UAE for shopping and holidays.”
The “triangular” flights, between Abu Dhabi, Lagos and Abuja, will be served by one of Etihad’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft which is configured to carry 22 passengers in business class, 240 passengers in economy and which has a cargo capacity of 14 tonnes.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with the current population of 140 million set to reach 155 million by 2010. Lagos is Nigeria’s largest city with a population of 7.9 million residents and is the driving force behind the country’s economy, producing manufactured goods such as machinery, motor vehicles, electronic equipment and textiles.