By Oyise Oghene
LAGOS-Air Nigeria, one of the foremost airlines in the Nigerian aviation industry has indicted its interest in expanding its routes network and operations to include the Lagos-London and Lagos-Johannesburg routes by May 16 and 17, 2012 respectively.
Disclosing this development to newsmen during an interactive session at the airline’s head office in Marina Lagos, Chief Executive Officer of Air Nigeria, Mr. Knife Kahssaye noted that the airline was going back to the routes especially that of London since it was suspended in 2009.
According to him, “Air Nigeria is repositioning itself as a global airline in the Nigerian aviation industry in the West African Sub-Region and the world at large. Hence our vision to expand our routes to London and Johannesburg is in line with this vision”
“We are going to be using two of our airplanes to start the routes and we will be flying the Lagos-London route three times a week”
He further affirmed that the plan to expand the airline’s operations was born out of the vision to become a global airline in the nearest future with its fleets flying to various parts of the world like to Europe, Asia, Rome, and through out the West African Sub-Region.
Mr. Kahssaye said that the flight from Lagos to London and that of Johannesburg would be very interesting as the passengers would be served with nice dishes on board from harrods brand as well as their tea or coffee.
He however noted that Lagos was a goal mine in the aviation industry in Nigeria and in the world as a whole stressing that Air Nigeria was bent on tapping into the market share on the Lagos-London route.
“Lagos is a goal mine in terms of aviation business and it is yet to be exploited. Most foreign airlines are taking the larger share of the market but our domestic airlines are yet to take their own share from the market, so that is why we are going into the Lagos-London market” he affirmed.
Mr. Kahssaye however stressed that the Lagos-London route was a very lucrative route adding that, that was why British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were charging high fares because the demand on that route was high.
He said “We are going to have a completive fare rate on the Lagos-London route that is based on the market demand but ours would be favorable to Nigerians”
He further called on the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria to support the airline in achieving its vision in becoming a global airline in the aviation industry.
According to him, ”The Federal Governmernt has a lot to do in helping indigenous airlines in the country in terms of policy formulation, providing funds, putting good infrastructure at the airport and creating an enabling environment for the airline to survive profitably ”