Air Cote d’Ivoire, which started operation to Lagos in January has said it is consolidating on the route, which has become the most promising and last Thursday in Lagos decided to fete its business partners in Nigeria, including travel agents in appreciation of their support and also pledged to continue to provide the best service to the Nigerian passengers.
The airline said its objective is to service Africa but is now concentrating its operations in West and Central Africa with Abidjan and Lagos as major destinations.
Country Manager for Air Cote d’Ivoire, Moustapha Fofana, said there is a niche market between Nigeria and Cote d-Ivoire as there is increased business in the two countries which makes it necessary to have direct, regular flight between Lagos and Abidjan.
He said such growing market was created by private business owners, diplomats and corporate establishment representatives who need to shuttle between the major cities of Lagos and Abidjan, so there was need for an airline to step in to fill the gap of a direct flight emanating from Abidjan to Lagos.
“This country (Nigeria) offers a huge business market with a growing movement of individual businesses and telecoms, banks, manufacturers, oil and gas multinationals from Nigeria to Cote d’Ivoire,” said Fofana.
Fofana said since the commencement of operations early 2015 patronage has kept going higher and higher.
“The Nigerian market is the best thing that has happened to us. We are flying into Lagos and the patronage has been so encouraging and we hope as the market improves one day in the future we may fly into Abuja,” he said.
According to him, the airline was established as a flag carrier of the government of Cote d’Ivoire in 2012 with institutional investors, including Air France, which also the airline’s technical partner.
According to Fofana, the oldest aircraft in the fleet of the airline was five years and the target was to develop an airline that would be the first choice of travellers between the West African and Central African sub-regions.
“We want to connect Central and West Africa by easing air traffic movements,” said Fofana. “We don’t seek to enter Europe, America or Asia, at least not for now.”
He said in the last three years, the airline has been able to launch direct flights from Abidjan into 19 capital cities in Central and West Africa.
“The business of the airline is to connect West Africa and Central African and subsequently Africa,” he said.
Source: Chinedu Eze for This Day