Airline Virgin Up To Good Start In Nigeria

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- British airline Virgin Atlantic says it is enjoying a good patronage in Nigeria, some 10 days after it started operating in Africa's most-populous nation.
"(There has been) a tremendous and positive turnout of passengers", the airline's station manager in Lagos, Peter Bary, told PANA Friday.
Virgin launched its Lagos-London route 5 July with fanfare that included the arrival in Lagos of the airline's chairman, Richard Branson, with a 13-member delegation.
Its four-times-a-week flights took off 12 days later.
Though the airline had not reached full capacity in terms of passengers, Bary said it's management was happy at the impressive patronage it had received so far.
"The airline will grow gradually, but for now the patronage is very impressive," he said.
In line with Branson's promise, Virgin started with a low fare of 747 dollars (economy) on the route, which is almost 500 dollars less than what its competitor, British Airways, offers.
Bary said the airline had no plans to increase the fare and assured the airline would continue to offer its customers value for their money.
Meanwhile, British Airways said its operations on the route have not been affected by Virgin Atlantic's entry.
"BA welcomes Virgin Atlantic Airline into the market", a media consultant to British Airways, Stanley Ajileye, told PANA in Lagos.
"Its entry is no threat to BA and does not affect BA's operations," Ajileye said.
A dual-designation agreement on the Lagos-London route, signed in April by the Nigerian and British governments, broke the monopoly of Nigeria Airways and British Airways on the route and paved the way for Virgin's entry into the Nigerian market.
Nigeria is yet to designate a second indigenous airline to fly the route alongside Nigeria Airways.

27 july 2001 17:19:00




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