Nairobi, June 20, 2014 : The city of Abuja on June 6, 2014 joined Kenya Airways network of destinations as the 64th Destination as the airline works towards realizing its dream of growing its footprint in all African capitals by the year 2016.
Abuja is the second Nigerian city that Kenya Airways flies into after Lagos where the airline has a daily service of 10 flights of which seven are direct to Lagos. The new flight operates four times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every week.
Speaking during a cocktail hosted by Kenya Airways at Transcorp Hilton hotel in Abuja to celebrate the inaugural direct flight, Kenya Airways’ Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Titus Naikuni noted that route expansion across Africa remained a key focus of the airline as part of its contribution to sustainable development of Africa.
“As the premier airline in Africa, we are continually working on expanding our footprint in the continent in order to encourage sustainable development. Abuja is part of our move to boost our footprint in the West African region.” He said.
During the cocktail, Nigeria’s Minister for Culture, Tourism and Arts Chief Edem Duke expressed his joy for the decision by Kenya Airways to fly direct between Nairobi and Abuja, noting that the move will open up the West African region to the rest of the world.
“Abuja is an extraordinary and exciting city full of unbelievable prospects and this direct flight will serve to open up Abuja and the West African region in general to the rest of the world. Indeed, Nigeria is a key source market for tourism and business travel in the Africa continent,” he added.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Eng. Michael Kamau who was part of the official delegation, commended Kenya Airways saying, “I am glad that Kenya Airways is already taking a lead to promote intra Africa trade by utilizing the available Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Kenya and the various African states. The direct flights to Abuja, alongside existing flights to Lagos, will undoubtedly deepen our relations with Nigeria while effectively increasing trade opportunities.”
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mrs. Phyllis Kandie, also praised the move by Kenya airways to fly directly to Abuja citing the numerous investment opportunities by the two countries.
She added: “Our two countries stand to gain immensely from the KQ direct flights to Abuja as Abuja holds interests that Kenyan investors, would want to explore while also providing direct access for Nigerian investors to the vast industries in the Kenyan economy including tourism industries”
“We need to trade with each other in both human and natural resources. The direct flight here is just but the begging of the journey,” She added
Abuja, located in the centre of the country, is a planned city built largely during the 1980s which replaced Lagos as Nigeria’s capital in 1991. It is the seat of the Federal Government and home to most of Nigeria’s institutions, including the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. Abuja is also the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) and the regional headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The new service will help create new opportunities for business, industry and tourism.