Last month it was in the news that Air Nigeria would commence flights from Lagos to London in May. That day is here. On Sunday May 13, 2012, an Airbus A330-200 aircraft belonging to Air Nigeria arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. The Airbus A330-200 aircraft comes with a two class seating configuration of 24 Business Class and 244 Economy Class seats. This aircraft will today, May 16, 2012, fly to Gatwick South Terminal, London, commencing the Air Nigeria direct flights on the Lagos-London route.
The aircraft arrived in the country, en route Cairo, Egypt, at exactly 8:45pm on Sunday. On board were Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, Chairman of Air Nigeria and Group Managing Director of Global Fleet; Mr. Kinfe Kahssaye, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Air Nigeria; and some management staff of the airline.
After the arrival of the aircraft, Mr. Ibrahim, said that with the airline’s operation on the Lagos-London route, the fares would become competitive, adding that besides competitive fares, the airline would provide the best service on that route. He noted that it was a good thing for Nigeria and that it would improve respect for the country.
“It will bring down the fares, and we are going to provide the best on-board service,” Mr. Ibrahim said. “Our service is Harrods. So it is easy to compete with other airlines. Our first class passengers will be conveyed home from Gatwick airport by limousine, while economy passengers will go by train.”
Mr. Kinfe Kahssaye, had earlier disclosed that the Airbus A330-200 aircraft would be deployed for both flights to London and Johannesburg. He said that the re-commencement of long haul flights confirmed the airline’s commitment to boost business and tourism travels, through regular growth and innovation that will meet the aspirations of the travelling public. He assured the travellers of the best in-flight entertainment, adding that aircrafts were equipped with state-of-the-art IPADs, and Nigerian cuisine would be served on board for the benefit of passengers who crave that.
He was particularly positive about the London route saying: “There is a huge market on the London route, we have done a research on that route and found that the market is good.”
“Gatwick is also good and, as you know, it is privatised. It has over about 740 million passing through it every year, so we have a strategy on the route. We are going to give our passengers qualitative product with Nigerian taste. Our fares will be competitive and our prime market will be for Nigerian people.”
In a related report, Air Nigeria’s dreams of changing Nigeria’s aviation industry seem to be coming alive. They will soon be among few African airlines to own a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The airline recently ordered four Boeing 787 Dreamliner Jets to ply its international routes. The planes will be delivered sometime in 2014.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes and can seat 210 to 290 passengers, depending on the variant. The variant being ordered by Air Nigeria, the 787-8, seats 262 passengers consisting of 18 business-class seats and 244 economy-class seats.
According to its manufacturer, it is the most fuel-efficient airplane in the world, and boasts lower maintenance and lower cash operating costs.
According to reports from THISDAY Newspapers, one aircraft will cost the airline $221,775,000, totalling $887,100,000 for four, which will be financed by the USEXIM Bank.
Mr. Ibrahim confirmed the aircraft orders, and said that as initial deposit, the airline will be required to sign and pay four per cent of the total cost of the aircraft amounting to $35,484,000 by May 22, in London. He added that in order to run and manage the aircraft in Nigeria, Air Nigeria will be investing in and deploying special equipment for engineering support for the navigation of the airplane.
On delivery, he said the aircraft will fly the Lagos-London, Lagos-Baltimore and Lagos-Dubai-Beijing routes, while one plane will be kept in reserve.
For Air Nigeria’s international flights, you can obtain your tickets at www.myairnigeria.com, at travel agencies, and at ticket offices across Nigeria.
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