VENTURES AFRICA – Emirates Airline, the Middle East’s largest airline, disclosed on Wednesday that passenger and cargo demands were on the increase in Nigeria and it plans to upgrade services to the country.
The Dubai-based airline said that from December 1, the Airbus 340-500 currently servicing one of its two daily Lagos flights, will be replaced with a larger Boeing 777-300ER.
The upgrade will increase the airline’s seat capacity by 48 percent.
Jean Luc Grillet, senior vice president of Commercial Operations for Africa said: “The aircraft upgrade will open up more seats to our customers travelling to and from Nigeria and further raise Emirates’ contribution to Nigeria’s economy.”
“With the introduction of this larger aircraft, we will offer over 10,000 seats every week to and from Lagos.”
Also, Emirates has made moves to expand operations in the country, following the signing of the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) which gives authority to operate from four major cities in the country, according to the General Manager (Corporate Communications) of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati.
Dati disclosed this over the weekend in an interview, adding that the airline has withheld commencement of operation at one of the cities based on the market size and security concerns.
Emirates added Nigeria to its route network in January 2004, when the company launched flight travels between Dubai and Lagos with four flights a week.
According to Arabian Business, The Boeing 777-300ER is the backbone of the Emirates fleet, with 91 in service and a further 72 on order.
Emirates, founded in 1985, is fully owned by the government of Dubai. The airline has a fleet of 189 aircraft and is the world’s largest A380 and Boeing 777 operator, flying to 126 destinations in 74 countries.