BY Sade Williams/Business a.m.
Emirates, the world’s largest international airline, sees Nigeria as a strategic market for its operations and business, Badr Abbas, its senior vice president, commercial operations for Africa, has said, underscoring its current 12 weekly flights into two cities in the country with potential to ramp up to 21 flights a week into Africa’s largest economy planned to commence soon.
Abbas personally hosted a special travel industry workshop, and a recognition event in Abuja for the leading travel agents in northern Nigeria.
The two events were held in both of the airline’s Nigerian gateways, Abuja and Lagos, to recognise the services and ongoing partnerships of its outstanding travel agents in the country.
The events are the first to take place since the outset of the pandemic. They gathered the industry’s best, and reaffirmed the airline’s ongoing commitment to the market and its longstanding partnership with its travel trade partners and their respective agencies.
Each event included senior representatives from Abuja and Lagos’s most prominent travel agencies. The airline’s top management led by Abbas honoured the contribution of the travel agents to Emirates’ post-pandemic recovery in characteristic style and elegance. The events were also hosted by Paulos Legesse, country manager Nigeria, and the Emirates team in Nigeria.
Commenting on reconnecting in person with the travel industry for the first time since the outset of the pandemic, Abbas said: “Emirates Airline and Nigeria share a very special relationship that goes back to almost 20 years, and we have been connecting Nigerian travellers to a global network which now spans nearly 130 destinations, making it easier to connect with friends, family, trade and tourism opportunities. We have been eager to visit Nigeria, a market that is very important to us, to meet with the people that have supported us, even in the most difficult of times. Throughout this journey, you, our loyal travel agents have been an integral part of our rebuilding efforts, for which we are extremely grateful. We look forward to your continued support in the years ahead.
He continued: “It has been a challenging two years for all of us, and together we are navigating the road to recovery, hopefully gaining an even stronger footing for the future. The word ‘Together’ is key, and has always been for us at Emirates. Recovery is not a unilateral effort. It is through collaboration and meaningful partnerships that we move forward with recovery, and all collectively prepare to address the pent-up demand for travel to and from Nigeria and across our network.”
The specialised industry workshop in Abuja aimed to provide the travel industry with the latest updates and information on the airline, its route network and fleet in service, the ramp up of operations in Nigeria, new routes for the airline globally, updates on its new premium economy product, up-to-date information on its customer and booking policies, the latest on Emirates Gateway partner portal, in addition to other topics.
Emirates’ Top 10 travel agencies, Northern Nigeria
1. Masarrah Travels
2. Vefa Tourism and travels
3. Salma travels and tours
4. Silver wings ltd
5. IBBSA Travel and Tourism
6. Go Places Travels
7. Topaz Travels and Tours
8. Hinterland Travels and Tours Ltd
9. Allstates Travel
10. VISA Travels
Emirates currently operates 12 flights a week to two cities in Nigeria, Lagos and Abuja. By 1 September, it will ramp up its operations to 21 weekly flights in line with increasing demand for international travel from the market.
The airline flew over 19 million passengers in the last financial year.