National carrier South African Airways (SAA) has launched flights between Johannesburg and Abuja, Nigeria, creating a second air connection between South Africa and the West African country.
SAA said the introduction of a second entry point to regional powerhouse Nigeria, alongside the long-established daily flights to Lagos, formed part of the airline’s long-term turnaround strategy, materially strengthening the airline’s position in West Africa, where it played a significant role in enabling the movement of goods and people between Southern and West Africa.
The three weekly nonstop flights between Johannesburg and Abuja would operate with Airbus 330-200 aircraft and had been scheduled to integrate with SAA’s intercontinental route network to destinations such as Perth, Hong Kong and São Paulo, enabling travellers from the northern and central parts of Nigeria to connect through OR Tambo International Airport to SAA’s intercontinental and regional route network.
“What better way to celebrate the New Year and 2016, which promises to be a great year for continued growth on the continent, by adding a second point in Nigeria – one of the most popular and profitable routes in the SAA African route network and among the fastest-growing air travel markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Introducing Abuja adds more travel options for our customers, especially for the business community, and enhances our footprint on the continent,” SAA acting COO Aaron Munetsi said in a statement.
The airline added that the second entry point gave expression to the implementation of SAA’s long-haul strategy, which identified growth on the African continent as one of its key objectives.
Moreover, the expansion of air travel links also spoke to the growth in bilateral relations between South Africa and Nigeria, SAA held.