SkyCargo to fly direct to west africa

Emirates SkyCargo announces it is to start its first, regularly scheduled, non-stop air route between Dubai and West Africa in early 2004.

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By  Paul Barthram Published  December 13, 2003

Emirates SkyCargo says it will launch four weekly direct flights from Dubai to Lagos, the Nigerian commercial capital and onwards to the Ghanaian capital, Accra, from 2nd January 2004 for commercial passengers and cargo services.

West Africa has become of keen interest to vendors and distributors alike within the Middle East channel, following the recent rapid growth of the IT business in both Nigeria and Ghana through unofficial and official channels to the region. The new service is a boost to Middle East based vendors looking to increase their official presence in the region, and for the regular trade established by distributors and sub distributors.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Emirates' executive VP commercial operations worldwide, believes the new route has the potential to not only provide an effective commercial service but a way of fostering new business interests between the regions.

"Every time Emirates starts services to new destinations, we strongly market them throughout our network worldwide. As a result, this new route will be good not just for our airline and passengers, but also for Nigeria and Ghana, by fostering new business opportunities from across our network," Al Gaith explains.

Channel distribution to these areas in the past has often been made difficult by the lack of good logistic service providers that cater affectively to these markets, leading several insurance companies refusing to secure shipments if the goods were transported through two to four airports before reaching their final destination, due to the difficulty proportioning blame.

The initiative is expected to boost business as well as tourism flows between West Africa and the Middle East, facilitate investment in Nigeria and Ghana, and strengthen cultural exchanges and understanding between the two African nations and the Gulf region.

The new direct link between Lagos-Accra and Dubai responds to the longstanding desire of business travellers and tourists and cargo chiefs seeking easier passage between West Africa and the Middle East, without time-consuming stopovers in transit. The direct routes will significantly enhance what has often been a traditional method for transit of goods passing over into the African channel.

Cargo customers for the new flights will be able to take advantage of a total of 120 tonnes of air cargo capacity per week between Lagos-Accra, Middle East destinations and beyond.

The arrival of Emirates in Nigeria and Ghana signals both the confidence of the airline in the potential of West Africa markets, and a welcome increase in competition, expected to upgrade the quality of air provision in the region.

The airline, though making its debut in West Africa in January, has been serving destinations in North and East Africa almost since its inception, having begun services in and out of Cairo since 1986.

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