Delta’s non-stop flight to boost $9b Nigeria-U.S. trade
Delta Air Lines has said it added a second non-stop route from Lagos to the United States (U.S.), with the aim of boosting trade and commerce between both nations put at $9 billion as at 2016.
The airline also affirmed that the move came as Nigeria opens up greater investment opportunities, as well as to provide business travellers more opportunities to reunite with families and friends.Records have shown that the U.S. is Nigeria’s largest foreign investor and the airline carried more than 89,000 passengers between Lagos and the country in 2017, while the new strategy is expected to increase the indices.
Unveiling the new commercial schedules to newsmen last week, in Lagos, alongside the Commercial Director, West and East Africa, Bobby Bryan, the company’s Senior Vice President, Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, Corneel Koster, said the Lagos to New York-JFK route is planned to connect both financial headquarters.
Launched on March 25, 2018, as the first ever direct operations on the route, he disclosed that the flights depart Lagos at 11.30p.m (23:30hrs) on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday to arrive New York-JFK at 5.30a.m (05:30hrs), while in-bound flights arrive Lagos Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
According to Koster, the new arrangement will afford customers flying to Delta’s New York-JFK hub the benefit of over 20 connections across the U.S. to destinations including Washington D.C., Baltimore and Chicago, while also complementing the existing Lagos-Atlanta route with more travel options to and from the U.S.
“With the U.S. the largest foreign investor in Nigeria, this new route underscores our commitment to the market by facilitating trade and commerce between our nations.“We’re proud of Delta’s 10-year history in Nigeria; we are the only airline to offer daily non-stop flights to the United States,” he said.
The company disclosed that the New York-JFK and Atlanta flights from Lagos are operated with 234-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which offers an elevated onboard experience in every cabin.
Incentives include fully flat-bed seats in Delta One that extend to 6’4” in length and offer greater privacy through their angled configuration; as well as regionally-inspired menus created using locally-sourced ingredients and served with a wide selection of fruit juices and complimentary spirits, beers and wines– including prosecco – in main cabin.
Others are free mobile messaging via WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger to keep passengers fully connected with friends, family, colleagues and clients, plus optional access to high-speed Wi-Fi.
Delta Studio in-flight entertainment, with over 1,000 hours of content, including Nollywood movies, to watch on seat-back screens or stream to a laptop, tablet or mobile with no Wi-Fi charge; and
RFID bag tracking technology, to enable customers keep track of their bag’s location from check-in to the baggage carousel through notifications to their mobile phones.
Meanwhile, Delta said it registered 36 per cent increase in capacity Year-on-Year on its Lagos-Atlanta route, carried over 89,000 passengers, with an average 82 per cent load factor, and almost 3,300 weekly seats between Nigeria and U.S.On the continent, the company said it transported over 377,000 in 2017, adding that eight new non-stop destinations were also being planned.