By Chinedu Eze
It was a historic moment yesterday when Air Nigeria’s Airbus A330-200 aircraft touched down for the first time at the Murtala Mohammed Interna-tional Airport, Lagos in preparation for commencement of operations on the Lagos-London route.
The aircraft, which arrived in the country, en route Cairo, Egypt, at exactly 8:45pm, was greeted with a ceremonial shower by fire fighters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
Chairman of Air Nigeria, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, told journalists after the arrival of the aircraft that with the airline’s operation in the London route, fares to that destination has become competitive, adding that besides competitive fares, the airline would provide the best service to that route.
“This will improve respect for our country. This is a good thing for Nigeria. It will bring down the fares and we are going to provide the best on-board service. Our service is Harrods. So it is easy to compete with other airlines. Our first class passengers will be conveyed home from Gatwick airport by limousine, while economy passengers will go by train,” he said.
Onboard of the aircraft were Ibrahim, who is the Group Managing Director of Global Fleet, Managing Director, Air Nigeria, Mr. Kinfe Kahssaye, and some management staff of the airline.
The airline is recommencing a daily flight operation to Gatwick South Terminal, London this Wednesday.
The aircraft type, selected for its proven operational efficiency, comes with a two class seating configuration of 24 Business seats and 244 Economy class seats.
Kahssaye, in an interview with journalists a few weeks ago had said that the recommencement of the long haul route by the airline was made possible after the successful turn-around of the airline over the last two years, adding that the airline is now well positioned to compete favourably in the international market.
He also pointed out that the recommencement of the long-haul flights confirms Air Nigeria’s commitment to boost business and tourism travels through regular growth and innovation that would meet the aspirations of the travelling public, adding that passengers would have distinctive onboard experience on the flights as indigenous meals and variety of movies would be offered as the airline was committed to delivering quality services at an affordable price.
The aircraft, Kahssaye explained, is equipped with state-of-the-art iPADS for in-flight entertainment in the business class cabin, making Air Nigeria one of the first African airlines to offer such a product to passengers.
Tickets have since gone on sale across all the sales channels such as the Internet online portal – www.myairnigeria.com, by telephone, as well as at multiple ticket offices across Nigeria, and at travel agents.