Etihad outlines plans for Nigerian expansion
Etihad Airways is set to offer a triangular service operating between Abu Dhabi, Lagos and Abuja, with the provisional date for the start of flights set for March 2009. The route will be served by one of the carrier’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which has a bellyhold capacity of 14 tonnes.
“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,” said James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways.
Etihad’s Nigerian routes are complemented by existing African services to Johannesburg, Cairo, Casablanca and Khartoum, and the expansion is expected to assist bilateral trade between the UAE and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. While the current population is estimated at 140 million, this is set to rise to 155 million by 2010.
Lagos, the former capital, is the state’s largest city and produces manufactured goods, such as machinery, motor vehicles, electronic equipment and textiles, while the current capital, Abuja, is home to the country’s diplomatic community.
“The new service will support UAE-Nigerian trade ties and will also provide a frequent service for West African based air travelers looking to visit the UAE for shopping and holidays,” added Hogan.