The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero on Wednesday, expressed hope that economic activities in the ancient commercial city is on the verge of boom as Qatar Airways commences flight operation to and fro Kano-Doha.
The First Class Emir stated this at Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA), during the launching of Qatar Airways services at the airport.
The Royal Father who is also a stakeholder in the aviation industry described the event as historic.
He recalled that the first aircraft into Nigeria landed in the Kano airport which was built in 1922, became operational in 1936 and was commissioned in 1942.
Emir Aminu Ado Bayero, however, expressed optimism that Qatar Airways will connect other parts of Nigeria, through Kano, to the outside world.
He also declared that the presence of Qatar Airways in Kano will boost the nation’s economy and attract foreign investment.
In his remarks, Qatar Airways’ Vice President for Africa, Hendrik Du Preez, said the new route will connect to over 140 destinations across its network, apart from Kano to Doha.
“Kano has been a trade and travel hub for hundreds of years. Now by linking it to the world’s best airport, Hamid International Airport in Doha, we hope to grow traffic between these two important hubs.
“We anticipate particular demand to and from India and other markets. We also expect strong cargo demand. This new service, not only underpins our commitment to Nigeria, but it is also a clear indicator of recovery and expected growth.
“Qatar Airways has stayed steadfast in its commitment to Africa throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since increased frequencies and grown its network, considerably improving connectivity to and from the continent and providing passengers with more choice and convenience,” he added.
Preez further stated that in Nigeria, the airline offered three weekly fights to Abuja via Lagos in November 2020 which grew to four direct flights to Abuja in December 2021.
“In addition to the four weekly fights to Kano via Abuja, we will also start operating three weekly flights to Port Harcourt from Thursday March 3, 2022. This will bring the number of services it operates between Africa and Doha to 188 weekly fights, serving 28 destinations across the continent,” he said.
Preez, however, promised that Qatar Airways will apply “flexible booking policy” that offers unlimited changes to travel dates and destinations as well as fee-free refunds for all tickets issued for travel completed by May 31.
According to him, “passengers flying to and fro Kano will also benefit from Qatar Airways new baggage allowances, which provide for up to 46kg in Economy class split over two pieces, and 64kg, split over two pieces, in Business Class.”
He also assured that safety, security, standard and customer satisfaction are guaranteed.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, who spoke through a representative said the new fights provide important travel and trade links between Nigeria and the world.
“As the largest economy in Africa, this enhanced global connectivity, through the new Qatar Airways service, will provide a vital network to move goods and people, as we recover from challenges of the pandemic and prioritise growth. Kano and Port Harcourt are both important to this recovery.
“This new service also reinforces the close ties between Nigeria and Qatar, and it paves the way to explore new untapped opportunities,” he said.
The Nigeria Ambassador to Qatar, Amb. Yakubu Abdullahi Ahmed, expressed happiness that Qatar heeded to his request by expanding its airways operation to Kano, which is the most populous state and commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria.
He added that, “this will give me more opportunities of interaction and in carrying out my diplomatic assignment in Qatar.”
The reports that Qatar Airways’ state-of-the-art aircraft Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down at the new terminal of MAKIA at 11:16 am Nigerian time. The aircraft has 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in Economy, it was learnt.
The inaugural flight piloted by the Qatari Captain, Mohammed Abdulla, and Nigerian first officer, Mrs Adeola Olamide Ogunmola, has 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in Economy Class.
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