Gulf airlines show increasing interest in Nigeria

Qatar Airways move follows decisions from other regional giants.
Qatar Airways will upgrade to the A330 (pictured) on its Lagos frequencies.
Qatar Airways will upgrade to the A330 (pictured) on its Lagos frequencies.

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The importance of Nigeria as a destination for the GCC's biggest carriers was again highlighted yesterday as Qatar Airways opted to upgrade aircraft and add daily services to the country's economic capital, Lagos.

The move, which will increase cargo capacity to the destination, follows Saudi Airlines Cargo's decision to appoint a GSA in Lagos, with Emirates SkyCargo and Etihad Crystal Cargo also expanding their services in the country. Emirates added a second daily flight to Lagos at the beginning of February. 

Africa generally has received close attention from GCC operators recently; Crystal Cargo signed an interline deal that allows it access to seven West African countries at the end of March, and Emirates will add energy-rich Angola to its network at the beginning of August.

The upgrade means that Qatar Airways Cargo will now have 40% more capacity due to the use of A340-600 jets rather than A330-200s, in addition to the extra two flights per week.

“Africa has been highlighted by the International Air Transport Association as one of the most important growth markets for aviation over the next 20 years, and Qatar Airways is committed to making further inroads into this dynamic continent to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available,” said Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways.

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