West and Central Africa largest carrier, Arik Air, has responded to the yearnings of Nigerians living in Gabon by introducing Lagos to Libreville flight, en route Port Harcourt. The maiden flight took place recently from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. Speaking at the ceremony, Arik Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Suraj Sundaram, explained that there had not been any direct flight between Nigeria and Gabon for so many years.
Sundaram noted that direct flight connection between the two countries was important because it would increase trade ties. “A lot of Nigerians from the South-East travel to Libreville on regular basis and we also have corporations that are dominant in Nigeria which transact business in Gabon because both are oil producing countries. So, there is a lot of traffic between the two points. It is in the interest of the two countries that there should be direct flight services,’’ he said.
According to him, Arik Air has planned the flight in such a way that there is a late evening departure from Lagos which will enable all domestic flights to come into Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to make the necessary connections.
In his speech, the Gabonese Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Corentine Hervo-Akendengue, hailed the airline’s decision to extend its operations to the Central African nation. He said Arik Air’s great vision to connect West African nations and open the route between Nigeria and Gabon would improve bilateral relations and boost commerce between the two countries.
On his part, the Nigerian Ambassador to Gabon, Mr Bassey Archibong, said the decision to operate to Gabon from Nigeria by Arik was what thousands of Nigerians living in the country had been yearning for.