British mega carrier, British Airways, has described Nigeria as its biggest market for air transport business, adding that the airline is investing heavily on new airplanes in Africa and Middle East.
Two years ago, the British carrier posted a revenue of about N30 billion, ranking as the high revenue earner by any foreign airline on the lucrative London-Lagos-Abuja route. Head, Middle-East, Africa and Central Asia, sales, British Airways, Paolo de Renziz, in an interview with New Telegraph, said that in terms of investment, “we’ve been investing in the last eight years and we keep on investing in new planes in Africa and Middle- East.“We are launching our B787- 900 on Abu-Dhabi-London route, we will be enhancing our products on Nigerian route.
In January we are refurbishing our B747, Club World and World Traveller will be reconfigured and new inflight entertainment.” The airline chief stated that the airline had been growing capacity in the past eight years, describing the Nigerian market as “very important to us.”
He said: “There is a lot of competition, especially in Dubai, which is the biggest in the last five years. We are familiar with competition, but we’ve been around for many years, we enjoy competition, we will compete very well, having been around for so long.”
Speaking on the competition Medview is going to pose to already established airlines, de Renzis said that the carrier welcomes the entrance of Nigeria’s flag carrier on the route, describing them as friends and competitors.
He added that competition helps to put the airlines on their toes by thinking, reacting faster and thinking of the customers.
“We just said to Medview ‘good luck and enjoy Gatwick and let the best man win.’ The world has changed, you can’t be thinking of killing competition, competition makes you better and the customers are better for it, but the best man win at the end,” he added. Just last week, Nigeria’s flag carrier airline, Medview, disclosed that it had concluded plans to begin Lagos- London route on November 20, 2015.
The disclosure was heartwarming, indicating that Nigerian airlines are ready to partake in the huge market share.
The Lagos-London route is about the most lucrative route for any Nigerian airline if they apply the right type of model, notwithstanding predatory attitude of mega carriers like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and many other European airlines. Experts said that the U.KNigeria market is currently served on a daily basis by Arik, BA, and Virgin Atlantic.
There is an on daily basis demand of an estimated 2,500 passengers a day between Nigeria and UK before looking at connection options and this has grown at an average annual rate of 9.2 per cent since 2010. Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa as well as the most vibrant air transport market on the continent.
It is hard to rationalise and justify why Nigerian airlines have such a small share of their own market. But the fact remains that Nigeria is a signatory to the Abuja Treaty of 2004 under which the Yamoussoukro Decision of 1999, liberalising African skies, is legally-binding.