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Virgin to Start Airline in Nigeria

Richard Branson announced that Virgin Atlantic will be a 49% owner of a new airline based in Nigeria called Virgin Nigeria (or, as I’m calling it, Vigeria.) The new carrier, expected to start in 2005, will fly both domestically and to US and Europe. Currently, there is no nonstop travel between the US and Nigeria (which brings up something kind of amazing…think of how huge sub-Saharan Africa is. Isn’t it incredible that you can only fly nonstop from the US to South Africa and, a couple of days a week, to Senegal? There are NO other nonstops from the US to sub-Saharan Africa. Doesn’t that sound like an opportunity?)

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  1. They’re not in the public schedules, but there are a few from Houston:

    Friday July 25, 2003 — 8:00am
    HOUSTON – World Airways/Ritetime Aviation flight #8162 took off today from Bush Intercontinental Airport inaugurating direct weekly service between Lagos, Nigeria and Houston. Inaugural ceremonies included comments by Aviation Director Rick Vacar, Aviation Deputy Director Luis Perez and Dr. Peter Obafemi, chairman and CEO, Ritetime Aviation and Travel services, Inc.

    World Airways will operate a Boeing MD-11 in partnership with Atlanta-based Ritetime Aviation and Travel services, Inc., an aviation and travel service company. The aircraft will have a 27-seat comfort class (business class) and 296-seat coach class configuration for the round trip flights. The new flight, #8162, will depart Bush Intercontinental Airport every Friday at 9: 30 a.m. and will arrive in Lagos on Saturday at approximately 7:30 a.m. The return flight #8192 will depart Lagos every Thursday at 12:50 a.m. and arrives in Houston on Thursday at approximately 9:30 a.m. Central Standard Time. The new service cuts existing air travel time on the route by as much as six hours and eliminates the need to secure transit visas.

    This destination is the third country served in Africa from IAH. Houston Express offers nonstop service from IAH to Malabo, the capitol of Equatorial Guinea and to Luanda, Angola.
    Lagos is Nigeria’s largest city, its administrative and economic center, and its chief port. Industries include railroad repair, motor vehicle assembly, food processing, and the manufacture of metal products, textiles, beverages, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, soap, and furniture. According to the Greater Houston Partnership, 24 Houston-based firms have subsidiaries in Nigeria and 281 Houston companies trade with Nigeria.

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