Emirates has now connected Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to its worldwide network making it the carrier’s 26th destination in Africa and its 144th worldwide. Emirates began the daily A340-300 service to Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on 1 August, marking the start of the airline’s daily service to its second destination in Nigeria. Services to Lagos were launched just over 10 years ago.
“With a fast growing economy, Nigeria is a key market for Emirates. We started operations to Nigeria on 2 January 2004, with four flights a week from Dubai to Lagos. Since then, our operations have steadily grown with increases in both frequency and capacity between Lagos and Dubai. Today, we fly twice daily to Lagos and now we have added Abuja… which will further stimulate business and leisure travel, as well as trade,” said Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates VP commercial operations, Northern and Western Africa.
Emirates SkyCargo offers over 180 tonnes of cargo capacity a week on the route with the main imports into Abuja are expected to be machinery, chemicals, transport equipment and manufactured goods, while exports include leather, vegetables and foodstuffs.
The additional cargo capacity on the new service will see a further strengthening of the bilateral trade between Nigeria and the UAE, Emirates added. According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the value of bilateral trade stood at US$106 million at the start of Emirates’ services in 2004, increasing to US$857 million in 2009 – a 710 per cent increase in a five-year period.