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‘Developing airports into hubs’ 

‘Developing airports into hubs’ 

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To develop an airport into a hub, there must be proper investment in operational infrastructure and planning, the Regional Manager, West Africa, Emirates Airline, Mr Afzal Parambil, has said.

He said airports do not become a hub overnight without a robust planning for operational facilities and airlines that will operate in such facilities.

To achieve this, he said governments of many countries should continue to put in place facilities at airports that would match the volume of anticipated growth in passenger capacity.

Speaking in an interview at the weekend in Lagos, he said the government of the United Arab Emirates has adopted this strategy to develop Dubai into a successful hub in the Middle East.

He urged the Nigerian Government to take a cue from what has been achieved by Ghana in developing Kotoka Airport , in Accra, into a hub for West Africa.

The Emirates Manager said Nigerian government over the years has been consistent in addressing challenges of airport infrastructure.

He, however, noted that countries with national carriers have the capacity to use such airlines to develop airport infrastructure.

Parambil said Emirates is interested in the Nigerian market because most Nigerians see Dubai as a favorite destination.

He said the airline will continue to invest in the Nigerian market having flown over five million passengers in many years.

He said: ”This explains our investment in this market by introducing the Boeing 777 aircraft , which is our flagship equipment to serve the Abuja / Dubai route.

“ Besides passenger service into Nigeria, we have consolidated on  air freight of goods including, kola nuts , chocolate and medical supplies out of Nigeria. We have also assisted in Hajj operations. Our ambitious growth plan is to consolidate our current daily passenger load factor out of Nigeria. “

He said Emirates is favourably disposed to entering into interline agreements with any domestic carrier , which safety and operational template aligns with its vision.

“ This will assist us to achieve feeding and de- feeding  of passengers into our over 150 global routes. Though we once had some agreement with Arik Air, we are in discussions with some partners. We do not have any challenge partnering with any airline.

“ But, we must look at the enhanced processes of such partner airline to endure it runs a smooth and efficient services in addition to evaluating the performance reliability of such carrier . “This is to ascertain their safety, promptness before we sign any pact that will ensure mutuality and efficiency.”

Meanwhile, Emirates Airlines has  upgraded its operating aircraft on the Abuja route to a Boeing 777-300ER from the 777-300 classic.

The upgrade took effect last week.

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