Delta Air will remain premium carrier for Nigeria passengers – Director

Onwubuke Melvin
Onwubuke Melvin

United States-based global carrier, Delta Air Lines, has renewed its commitment to remain a premium carrier of choice for Nigerian passengers as air traffic continues to grow across countries after the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was disclosed by the Director of Sales, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and India, at Delta Air Lines, Paul Hassenstab, during a visit to Nigeria, alongside some top executives of the Atlanta-based American carrier, according to The Punch.

Delta, which recently marked its 17th year of operation of scheduled nonstop flights to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, flies to some of Africa’s most important destinations.

The Atlanta-based Sky Team alliance member carried over 200 million passengers in 2023, flying to over 275 destinations worldwide.

Delta’s Sales Director said the US carrier would continue to be a premium airline of choice and will not waiver in its commitment to the Nigerian community it is serving.

Hassenstab said “I think we want to continue to be the premium carrier of choice for Nigeria. That is the commercial side of it. We also want to be committed to the community in Nigeria.”

Hassenstab believes that Delta’s main priority is to keep providing passengers with the best Lagos service, even though passengers are looking forward to having their services expanded to major cities in Nigeria such as Abuja and Port Harcourt.

He noted, “Right now, our primary goal is to make our daily service work for us. We love to expand our operations. If you look at Delta, in terms of the wide-body airplanes that we operate, today, we have roughly 165 wide-body aircraft that we deploy to all around the international stations around the world. We just placed a new order with Airbus a couple of weeks ago with new A350-900s and 1000s and also A350 Neo which we equally have taken delivery of and I think that will give us the opportunity to expand as the business case in each market but today, our focus is making things work for us.”

According to the Sales Director, Delta Air Lines sees competition as a good thing for all markets.

United Airlines, which is Delta Air Lines’ close rival on the Nigeria route, flies between Lagos and Washington DC.

In June 2016, United Airlines, based in Chicago, canceled its flights to Nigeria as a result of the country’s currency crises. In December, the US airline resumed flights to join Delta on the Lagos route.

Two Nigerian carriers-Air Peace and United Nigeria Airlines, have indicated interest in launching flights to the United States.

However, Hassenstab emphasised that in the last 17 years, Delta Air has flown uninterrupted flights into Nigeria’s market and is not scared of competition, noting that it will continue to offer the country’s finest flight services.

“We don’t fear competition, competition makes us better. They make people better,” he said, adding that the US carrier would continue to build on its next-generation airport experience in its Atlanta hub.

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