Mr. Afzal Parambil, Regional Manager – West Africa, Emirates
…hints on plans to interline with domestic carriers
…airline airlifts over 4.3m passengers since 2004
Posted by Sade Williams
Barely one year after Emirates returned to Abuja with Boeing 777-300 classic, the airline announced on Friday that it will from September 15, 2018, upgrade the aircraft on that route to a Boeing 777-300ER.
The airline returned to the route in November 2017 after it stopped operations early 2016 due to forex issues and the state of the airport at that time.
The airline has also hinted on plans to interline with domestic carriers in order to help distribute its passengers seamlessly.
Announcing the development in Lagos at a press conference, Mr. Afzal Parambil, Regional Manager – West Africa, Emirates, said the airline got a commitment from the Federal government before it returned to the route late last year.
He added that ‘with this development, the EK785 and 786 will be on the Dubai-Abuja-Dubai routes four times in a week’.
He said the airline had an agreement with Arik Air in the past but due the challenges it (Arik) faced, ‘we are now in discussion with may other domestic airlines, we always want to ensure that all aspect of the business are thorough and smooth, we take time to evaluate their performance before we take any step’.
He disclosed further that the B777-300ER is a three class cabin with 310 seats in Economy Class, 42 seats in Business Class and 8 seats in First Class.
Economy Class will feature specially designed and contoured seats in a 3-4-3 configuration with 2-4-2 configuration in the last rows with generous space for passengers and Business Class offers comfortable sleeperette seats which recline to a 78” long lie flat bed.
First Class features the world’s first private suites with privacy screens, massage-enabled leather seats which convert to flat beds include luxurious comfort covers, down pillows and cotton-lined blankets.
He said passengers travelling in First Class will also find the BYREDO travel wellness range of skincare in their private suites and brand new Bowers and Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones, to amplify the viewing experience on ice.
According to him, ‘the upgrade of our Abuja service to a Boeing 777-300ER demonstrates our commitment to the Nigeria market and is another step to ensure we offer world class products and services to our customers. Since its launch in 2014, Emirates boosted international tourism and trade in Abuja from a raft of destinations in the Far East, West Asia, Middle East, Europe and North America.”
“Emirates constantly strives to provide its passengers with the very best service and the introduction of a Boeing B777-300ER reflects that commitment. Our 777-300ER will offer Emirates’ renowned cabin comforts and facilities, including our award-winning ice entertainment system,” he pointed out”, Parambil said.
In addition to other perks, on-board, customers will enjoy specially created regional menus and a wide range of movies, TV programmes, games and music through ice, Emirates’ multi-award winning in-flight entertainment system, while being served by Emirates’ multi-lingual cabin crew from over 130 nationalities and speak 60 languages.
Emirates operates in over 160 destinations across 86 countries.
The airline flies from Lagos to Dubai 14 times a week, that is, 2 times daily; and from Abuja to Dubai, it flies four times in a week.
Emirates flight EK785 departs Dubai daily at 1050hrs and arrives in Abuja at 1510hrs. The return flight, EK 786 departs Abuja at 1935hrs and arrives in Dubai at 0550hrs the next morning.
Emirates is the largest B777 operator in the world, and the only airline that operates all 777 types. The Boeing 777 gives Emirates the operational flexibility in terms of capacity and range, to operate non-stop flights to most major destinations around the world Dubai. The B777-300ER is an upgrade to the current aircraft for Abuja, for one it is a larger aircraft – meaning is can accommodate higher passenger capacity in 3 class and 2 class. The aircraft scheduled for Abuja is a 3 class passenger capacity with 360 seats of which 310 is for Economy Class, 42 seats for Business Class and 8 seats for First Class.
“The upgrade demonstrates as our commitment to our Nigerian customers and is a step further to ensure we offer world class products and services. The new aircraft boasts new innovations in the aviation industry to provide an enhanced flying experience, at 40,000 ft”, he added.
On what Abuja customers stand to gian from the upgrade, he said: ‘The passengers will have a completely different flying experience in our 3 class aircraft. Economy Class passengers will have specially designed and contoured seats in 3-4-3 configuration, articulated seat bottom pan which moves forward when seat is reclined to over 6” and a back-mounted LCD screen. Business Class passenger’s comfortable sleeperette seats recline to a 78” long flat bed with an electronically-operated footrest and lumbar support and an adjustable headrest. First Class passengers will have their own suites for a superior and relaxing travel experience, where their seats recline to a full-flat bed, electrically operated door, mini bar, room service feature, BYREDO travel wellness range of skincare, Bowers and Wilkins Active Noise Cancelling E1 headphones, to amplify their viewing experience just to name a few.
“Across all our flights customers can enjoy an exceptional range of in-flight entertainment from – ice our award-winning inflight entertainment system, with over 3,500 channels of on-demand entertainment, in-seat telephone, SMS and email and USB charging and power points. We offer regionally inspired dishes with a multi-course meal prepared by Emirates’ master chefs, an extensive selection of complimentary wines, spirits, beers and soft drinks served throughout the flight and savoury biscuits served with aperitifs. Additionally, our customers will be served by out multilingual cabin crew from over 161 countries”.
Meanwhile, the airline disclosed that since the commencement of its services in Nigeria in the year 2004, the airline has airlifted over 4.3million passengers (Lagos and Abuja combined).
“Emirates has airlifted Nigerian passengers to destinations such as Dubai (UAE), United States of America (New York, Houston, Washington), Great Britain (London, Manchester, Birmingham), India (Delhi, Bombay), and Saudi Arabia (Medina, Jeddah), amongst other destinations.
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of the airline, offers over 180 tonnes of Cargo capacity a week on the Abuja-Dubai route.
Emirates SkyCargo, has transported various goods in and out of Nigeria. Between August 2016 and August 2018, SkyCargo transported imports weighing about 1,269,543kg from Dubai to Abuja.
The airline disclosed that majority of the goods transported were Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines.
Within same period, it imported goods weighing about 14,607,337kg from Dubai to Lagos, adding that majority of the goods were Mobile Phones, Garments, and Personal Effects.