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Muharram Abdel Rahman is Egypt Air’s Country Manager in Nigeria. In this interview with WOLE SHADARE, he speaks on how Egypt Air has grown to be one of the preferred airlines in Nigeria, the carrier’s request for more frequencies and flight operations in Nigeria
Egypt Air has requested more frequencies in Nigeria. Has the Ministry of Aviation approved your request?
We have submitted our request to the Ministry of Aviation that we need to increase our frequencies to 10 from ten frequencies. We will fly double daily on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday but our request is subject to the approval of the Ministry of Aviation.
We are hoping that latest by next week, we can get the approval. Egypt and Nigeria have a strong diplomatic relationship and we believe that these new frequencies will allow the two countries to further deepen this relationship. Now that we are flying from three points flying from Lagos, Kano, and Abuja, we need to add Port-Harcourt and Sokoto.
You are asking for more frequencies, is it an indication of the growing market for the airline? Could you also please tell us what your plans are for the next couple of months, years to remain very strong in this market?
Let me first of all thank you for asking these questions. Let me start first with Egypt and Nigeria. Egypt is considered in some cases to be the hub of Africa with a high population of about 120 million and Nigeria is considered to be the hub of sub-Sahara with above 200 million that are too common between these two countries. I came here to serve Nigerians better.
Egypt Air is the bridge between these two countries to serve Nigerians. We are doing our operations with more requests and another advantage that Egypt Air has is the location of Egypt in the middle of the world.
The transition to wide-body aircraft shows that you have great potential
Nigerians need to fly on Egypt Air. If I brought wide-body aircraft from Kano, you will not find seats available because a lot of people want to travel through Egypt Air. Even Lagos or Abuja market, as soon as we increase, you know that we have the market. Our flights from Lagos are full. That is the reason we need more frequencies to accommodate more passengers
There is this argument that some of us have laughed over that foreign airlines operate old aircraft to Nigeria. Does your airline fall into the category of airlines that operate old aircraft to Nigeria?
We call this flight maneuvering in aviation, meaning that in high season, I can bring in wide-body aircraft, and in low season, I will bring narrow-body aircraft. This is because the cost of operations is too high. I cannot bring wide-body aircraft when the cost is high in the low season; this is why we make flight maneuverings. I can tell you that there is no one aircraft that I can tell you goes to this particular route.
In the Lagos market, for example, we have wide-body aircraft Sundays and Fridays but by the rest of the week, we are flying B737-800 a new aircraft. For today, we are operating with A350, flatbed, and all the facilities. Tomorrow is B787 Dreamliner. We are taking a new product to Nigeria because they deserve it.Google+