Inaugural Etihad flight to Lagos touches down

Tuesday, Jul 03, 2012

Lagos: The inaugural flight of Etihad, the UAE’s flag carrier, to Lagos touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport yesterday.

The inaugural flight EY671 painted in Manchester City Football Club’s famous colours was greeted with a water canon ceremony amid a fresh welcome of a light afternoon rain. The Etihad delegation led by Peter Baumgartner, chief commercial officer of Etihad Airways, was welcomed by Dr. Harold Demuren, director general of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

The new route to Lagos is part of Etihad’s expansion plans to Africa, making the Nigerian city the airline’s first destination in West Africa.

“This new service is a hugely significant next step for us in expanding our presence in Africa,” Baumgartner said. “Looking to the future, the relationship between the UAE and Nigeria is stronger than ever before. Commercial and business interests between the two countries continue to grow an impressive growth.”

Nigeria, the world’s eighth biggest oil exporter, has become one of the fastest growing economies of the world. It receives the largest foreign direct investment in Africa, with the US as its largest contributor.

87th destination

The flight marked the airline’s 87th destination in Etihad’s global network that will create a new link between Nigeria, Africa’s third largest economy, and the UAE. It will also provide seamless connections to 35 popular North and Southeast Asian destinations and markets in the Indian Subcontinent and Australia.

“This new development will, of course, lead the promotion and development of the equitable and sustainable partnership between UAE and Nigeria,” Rashid Nasser Al Daheri, UAE Ambassador to Nigeria, said. “The flight between Lagos and Abu Dhabi is one of the ways to expand trade, platforms of fresh strategic partnership, and explore new business opportunities for both countries.”

Etihad is flying its two class A330-200 aircraft on the route, offering 22 Pearl Business Class and 240 Coral Economy seats.

The service will operate passenger and cargo services six times a week. EY671 departs Abu Dhabi at 10am on Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday and arrives in Lagos at 2.45pm. The return flight, EY672, departs at 8pm and lands in Abu Dhabi at 6.55am the following day. On Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 7.10am, EY673 will depart Abu Dhabi and will land in Lagos at 2.25am. Its return flight, EY674, leaves at 8.50am and touches down Abu Dhabi at 7.45pm.

Etihad currently has flights to Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Sudan, Libya, and the Seychelles. Plans of launching a new route to Ethiopia in November are already being discussed.

By Janice Ponce de Leon Staff Reporter

© Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.


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