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Cablegate: Nigeria: North American Airlines Chief Sees Market Growing

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: NORTH AMERICAN AIRLINES CHIEF SEES MARKET GROWING

Sensitive But Unclassified; Handle Accordingly

1. (U) Summary: North American Airlines (NAA) Chief Henry Seymour
says NAA's code share arrangement with Virgin Nigeria will continue
until March 2008, when Virgin will begin flights to the United
States. Delta Airlines begins flights to Nigeria in December and
Continental Airlines hopes to begin Lagos-Houston and
Abuja-Lagos-Newark flights. End summary.

2. (SBU) Henry Seymour, Country Manager for North American Airlines
(NAA), currently the only U.S. airline flying out of Nigeria, told
Econoffs that few Virgin Nigeria (VN) passengers have taken
advantage of NAA's direct flights to the United States under the
VN-NAA code sharing arrangement. Except for few VN passengers from
Douala, Accra, Kano and Abuja, the arrangement has yielded fewer
passengers than anticipated. However, the arrangement will continue
until March 2008 when VN begins to fly its own aircraft directly to
the United States.

3. (U) NAA, which now operates three weekly direct flights to New
York and Baltimore, hopes to increase its frequency to six flights
per week. Seymour expects the market to grow, pushed along by
competition from other U.S. carriers, like Delta Airlines which
begins operations in December. According to Seymour, Delta has
appointed Associated Airlines, a Nigerian company, to handle its
airport operations while Five Star Travel Company will take charge
of ticketing.
4. (U) Continental Airlines, which made an earlier unsuccessful
attempt to enter the market, is trying again, Seymour said. Although
currently operating out of Ghana, Continental is planning to operate
a Lagos-Houston direct flight as well as an Abuja-Lagos-Newark
flight in the near future, he said.
Hutchinson

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