Virgin Nigeria Gets Approval on US Route

No Comments » April 6th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



Virgin Nigeria Gets Approval on US Route

By Chinedu Eze, 04.06.2008

Virgin Nigeria has been granted ap-proval by the United States Depart-ment of Transp-ortation (DOT) to commence direct commercial flights from Lagos to various destinations in America.

Virgin Nigeria is one of the three airlines approved by the Federal Government to fly to the United States but they must secure the approval of the United States government’s DOT to fly directly to the US. Virgin is the first among the three to get the approval.

Other airlines are Arik Air and Bellview Airlines.

According to a statement made available by Virgin Nigeria, the approval was signed by the director, Office of International Aviation, Mr. Paul Gretch.

“The approval confirms that Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited (Virgin Nigeria) has formally been granted the foreign air carrier permit and is financially and operationally qualified to perform the services authorized”, the statement noted.

The statement also explained that DOT approval authorises Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited to use aircraft wet leased from a duly authorised and properly supervised U.S. or foreign air carrier.

The Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Nigeria, Mr. Conrad Clifford described the approval for the commencement of direct flights to America as a boost for the Nigerian aviation industry as a whole.

“Our commitment to fulfill the ‘American dream’ of our trans-Atlantic customers has today come to fruition and in a few months time, we will unveil our blueprint for the operations into the USA ” Clifford said.

Virgin Nigeria also said that prior to now the airline had gone into partnership with a marketing company, Discover the World, to sell Virgin Nigeria in the United States as well as its existing interline agreements which it had been using to connect passengers on the American route.
“This approval is based on the open skies agreement between Nigeria and the US to operate non-stop flights between both countries. Virgin Nigeria has since December 2005 filed an application with the US Department of Transport to provide scheduled passenger air transportation between the United States and Nigeria and has vigorously pursued the process in the last two and half years,” it stated.

Virgin Nigeria and the two other airlines designated to US will only be able to fly their own branded aircraft to that country after the auditing of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) by US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or another express approval by the body for the airlines.

FAA had started auditing the nation’s aviation regulatory body since last year and the Director-General of NCAA, Dr Harold Demuren, expresses the hope that the agency will also secure approval from FAA before the end of this year.


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