United Airlines Sets Lagos Launch Date As It Expands In Africa

United Airlines has officially set its launch dates for flights to Lagos, Nigeria. The carrier’s return to the…

United Airlines Sets Lagos Launch Date As It Expands In Africa

United Airlines has officially set its launch dates for flights to Lagos, Nigeria. The carrier’s return to the country after five years is a further expansion of the airline’s network in Africa, which has grown extensively this year. With flights set to launch on November 29th, the airline is making a play for traffic to the continent with more nonstop flights from the US.

United Airlines will launch flights to Nigeria on November 29th. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United sets Lagos return date

United Airlines has announced that it will inaugurate nonstop services from Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) In Lagos, Nigeria, on November 29th. Subject to government approval, the airline is planning to operate three weekly flights between the two airports. Tickets for the route will go on sale this weekend when United loads its schedules.

Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, stated the following on the new flights:

“This new flight to Lagos has been highly anticipated by our customers and offers the first ever nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Nigeria, as well as convenient, one-stop connections to over 80 destinations throughout the Americas including Houston and Chicago. On behalf of all of United we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and U.S. Department of Transportation for supporting our plans to provide this service.”

United will fly a Boeing 787-8 on the route. This aircraft will feature 28 lie-flat business class seats, branded as United Polaris, in a 1-2-1 configuration. Following this are 21 premium economy seats, branded as Premium Plus, in a 2-3-2 configuration. Lastly, there are 36 extra-legroom economy seats and 158 standard economy seats. These latter two are outfitted in a 3-3-3 configuration.

United Airlines Sets Lagos Launch Date As It Expands In Africa
United’s flights will offer the authentic Polaris experience for business class travelers. Photo: United Airlines

Not United’s first foray into Nigeria

In 2011, Continental Airlines launched nonstop service from its hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas, to Lagos. The initial service utilized a Boeing 777-200ER. After the merger with United Airlines and with the arrival of the Dreamliner, United put the Boeing 787 in service on the route.

However, in 2016, United ended the route. According to a report from 2016 in USA Today, United ended the route after a sustained lack of profitability and instead redeployed the aircraft on its San Francisco-Tel Aviv route. One of the critical issues was the airline’s inability to repatriate revenue sold locally in Nigeria. At the time, foreign airlines included United had an aggregate of $575 million stuck in the country from tickets sold locally.

United Airlines Sets Lagos Launch Date As It Expands In Africa
United exited Nigeria in 2016. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Now, United is coming back to Nigeria. Delta Air Lines flies two routes to Nigeria, one from its largest hub in Atlanta and a second flight from New York-JFK. United’s flights from Washington D.C. will be the only nonstop operation between Lagos and the US capital city.

Expanding in Africa

United is continuing to grow in Africa. Earlier this year, United inaugurated two new nonstop flights to Africa. One was from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in South Africa. The second was from IAD to Accra’s Kotoka International Airport (ACC) in Ghana. Flights to Johannesburg operate on the Boeing 787-9 while Accra gets the 787-8. These two routes, plus Lagos, were announced at the same time in September 2020.

This December and January, pending government approval, United will turn its IAD-ACC flight from a three-weekly flight to a daily operation around the winter holidays. Separately, from December 1st, the airline plans to bring back its EWR to Cape Town International Airport (CPT) route, which will make it the largest airline between the US and South Africa.

United Airlines Sets Lagos Launch Date As It Expands In Africa
United’s Africa network this winter. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

Africa has typically been a market with a limited presence from US airlines. Delta previously had the largest presence in Africa. American does not currently operate any routes to the continent.

United is the only US airline that did not retire large widebody fleets in 2020. As such, come summer 2022, the airline expects to have 30 more widebodies than it did in 2019. This sets the airline up for major long-haul expansion, and Africa could see expanded service. For example, the airline could expand its Accra and Lagos services to operate more flights per week.

Are you going to fly United to Lagos? Let us know in the comments!

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What Aircraft Types Has Qatar Airways Operated?

Qatar Airways today operates a mixed Airbus and Boeing fleet. For narrowbodies, it only has Airbus aircraft, but…

What Aircraft Types Has Qatar Airways Operated?

Qatar Airways today operates a mixed Airbus and Boeing fleet. For narrowbodies, it only has Airbus aircraft, but widebodies are split roughly equally. This has not always been the case. As the airline has grown, it has seen short periods as an all-Boeing and an all-Airbus operator. This article takes a quick look through all the aircraft types it has operated since its start in 1994.

Qatar Airways now operates 19 A350-1000 aircraft but has more on the way. Photo: Vincenzo Pace – Simple Flying

Several types operated in 2021

As of March 2021, Qatar Airways had 223 aircraft in its fleet. This is made up of (according to planespotters.net data)

  • A320 family: 33 aircraft
  • A330: 6 A330-200 and 10 A330-200 aircraft (all parked currently)
  • A350-900: 34 aircraft
  • A350-1000: 19 aircraft
  • A380: 10 aircraft (all parked and five confirmed to retire)
  • 777: 8 777-200 and 47 777-300ER aircraft
  • 787-8: 30 aircraft
  • 787-9: 7 aircraft

Looking back, Qatar Airways has operated plenty of other types. With Boeing, it has seen the 727, 747SR, and 747SP. It also leased one 757 for a short period in 1997/1998 and one 767 in 1994. With Airbus, it has also operated the A310 and the A340.

We look in a bit more detail at some of the most significant of these aircraft – past and present.

The first aircraft – A310, 747 and 727

Qatar Airways started service in 1994, using two leased Airbus A310 aircraft. These came from Kuwait Airways and stayed with Qatar until mid-1995.

Qatar Airways A310
Qatar Airways first A310 (registration A7-ABA). Photo: Dean Morley via Flickr

Fleet expansion started with the 747. Qatar took on two high-capacity 747SR aircraft from Japanese Airline ANA in 1995. It added a further 747SP (the ‘stubby’ shortened version with increased range) in 1996. It also operated the Boeing 727 for some regional services.

Qatar Airways’ first two 747s were 747SR variants from ANA. Photo: contri via Flickr

Expansion with Airbus A300, A320

The 747s also had a short life with Qatar Airways. They were replaced from 1997 by A300-600 aircraft as Qatar switched from an all-Boeing to an all-Airbus operator. Six more A300s joined the fleet by 2003.

The A320 began service as its new narrowbody option in 1999. The first aircraft were leased, but owned aircraft began arriving in 2009. The A320 family, of course, continues to fill the narrowbody fleet today. There are orders in place to renew the fleet with 40 A321neos and 10 A321LR aircraft from 2022.

Qatar Airways A320
An early Qatar Airways A320. Photo: Dmitriy Pichugin via Wikimedia

The A340 and then the 777

Qatar Airways’ fleet expansion really picked up from 2001. In 2003, it placed a $5.1 billion order with Airbus for more A320 aircraft as well as the A330 and A340. According to reporting by FlightGlobal, the airline had been considering both the Boeing 777 and the A340-600 but decided on the A340 after it passed the airline’s evaluations.

It operated four A340-600 aircraft from the end of 2006 until the retirement of them in 2019. This, of course, worked well alongside the A330 and kept an initial all-Airbus fleet. It soon changed direction, though, and also decided to order the 777. In 2007, it placed a $13.5 billion order with Boeing for 30 787-8 aircraft and 27 777 aircraft. Both these orders have since been increased.

Qatar Airways A340-600
Qatar Airways A340-600. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

The A350, 787, A380 and 777X

Qatar Airways’ fleet today has added both the A350 and the 787 to its A330, 777, and A380 fleet. It became the largest customer for the A350 when it placed an order for 80 aircraft at the Paris Airshow in 2007. It was the launch customer for the A350-1000 and still has 23 aircraft on order. Likewise, it is still receiving deliveries of the 787, with 23 787-9 aircraft on the way.

A350-1000 Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways was the launch customer for the A350-1000. Photo: Airbus

Its relationship with the A380 has not been so strong. It grounded the whole fleet of aircraft during the slowdown in 2020, despite the airline remaining one of the most active overall. It has since confirmed that five of these aircraft will not return to service.

Looking forward, it is set to become the second-largest operator of the new Boeing 777X (behind fellow Middle Eastern operator Emirates). It has 60 aircraft on order but is unlikely to take delivery before 2024.

Boeing 777X, Delivery Delays, 2023
Qatar Airways will be the second-largest operator of the 777X. Photo: Getty Images

Cargo aircraft

Such a review of aircraft types would not be complete with a quick look at cargo aircraft. Qatar has had several types onboard within its subsidiary Qatar Airways Cargo.

Today it operates two Boeing 747-8 cargo aircraft and 24 777F aircraft. Looking back, it has also operated Airbus freighters. It operated eight A330-200 freighters, retiring the last just at the start of 2021. And it had three A300B4 freighter aircraft – all of these were scrapped in 2013.

This has been a quick review of all the aircraft Qatar Airways has operated. Feel free to discuss these further in the comments. 

Source : Simple Flying More   

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