Emirates Airline has now connected Abuja, the Nigerian capital, to its worldwide network. Abuja is Emirates 26th destination in Africa and its 144th worldwide.
Emirates flight EK785 landed at Abuja's Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on 1st 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.
"This new daily flight provides a convenient point to point service for our customers between Abuja and Dubai, and it will meet and further stimulate a vibrant market demand between the two cities. It will also serve our customers in Nigeria and around the network with additional connectivity and daily frequency. Our leisure and business passengers from Nigeria can now better connect to the Middle East, Europe, the United States and Asia via our hub in Dubai. Customers in Abuja can experience our A380 flagship aircraft to 29 destinations around the world, including popular ones like Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New York, Jeddah and London," said Adil Al Ghaith, Emirates Vice President Commercial Operations, Northern and Western Africa, in a press release.
"With a fast growing economy, Nigeria is a key market for Emirates. We started operations to Nigeria on 2nd 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, giving us a total of more than 12,200 seats a week, which will further stimulate business and leisure travel, as well as trade," he added.
Emirates Airline says its SkyCargo, the freight division of the airline, offers over 180 tonnes of cargo capacity a week on the route. 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. 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. This increased to US$ 857 million in 2009 - a 710 % increase in a five-year period.