Emirates, a global connector of people and places, celebrates ten years of successful operations in Nigeria this month, during which time it has carried more than 2.6 million customers on the route, becoming the airline of choice for many in the country.
Emirates started operations to Nigeria on 2 January 2004, with four flights per week from Dubai to Lagos linked with Accra in Ghana, using an A330-200 aircraft. Lagos became Emirates 73rd destination in its network and its 10th in Africa. Today, Emirates flies to over 140 destinations across six continents, 25 of which are in Africa.
In 2005, just over a year after Emirates’ launch in Nigeria, it increased services from four to six flights a
week, and following steady growth and demand, it became a daily operation in October 2005. On 1 January 2006, Lagos was delinked from Accra and became a direct service to Dubai. On 1 February 2009, a second daily service was introduced, and today each flight is served with a Boeing 777-300 ER. The Boeing 777-300ER is the backbone of the Emirates fleet, efficient to operate and popular amongst customers.
"Emirates is all about connecting people and places, and as Nigerians love to travel, explore the world and make new experiences, we are proud to have played a major role over the past ten years in connecting Nigerians, whether for business or leisure, to our ever-expanding worldwide network through our Dubai hub. We look forward to continuing our growth in Nigeria by providing the best possible travel experiences and value for money,” said Manoj Nair, Emirates Regional Manager for West Africa.
“The arrival of Emirates was a big boost for the local travel industry, as it opened up new links and opportunities for business and leisure travel. Dubai in itself has also become a very popular destination for Nigerians over the years, and today we are a key market for the airline in the Africa region,” said George Ikpekhia, the Airport Station Manager at Emirates office in Lagos, who has been with the airline since the start of operations.
Emirates currently employs 83 Nigerian nationals across its business in Nigeria and Dubai.
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of the airline, also played a key role over the past ten years in facilitating trade between Nigeria and its trading partners in the Emirates network. In 2013 alone, more than 12 000 tonnes of cargo, ranging from household goods to pharmaceuticals and construction equipment, was imported into Nigeria using Emirates SkyCargo services.
Underlining its position as one of the leading airlines in the market, Emirates has won a number of awards in Nigeria for its outstanding service, the most recent being the NTA Transport Award in 2013 and the AKWAABA - Best Middle East Airline in Nigeria Award.
Passengers on-board Emirates flights can experience the airlines award-winning service by its multi-national cabin crew, ice entertainment system with 1500 channels of on-demand entertainment and gourmet cuisine. Emirates also offers passengers very generous baggage allowances of 50kg in First Class, 40kg in Business Class, and 30kg in Economy Class.
Further testament to the growing importance of Nigeria as a key Emirates market, Emirates Holidays, the tour-operating arm of Emirates, last month opened a dedicated retail office and call centre in Lagos in partnership with Tour Brokers International (TBI) Ltd, who was appointed Preferred Sales Agency (PSA) for Nigeria.