Virgin Atlantic Establishing New African Airline

Mon Dec 03, 2001 9:16 am

Virgin Atlantic Airways is reported to be planning to launch a low price Pan African airline.

Virgin's chairman, Sir Richard Branson, said that the new airline would be charging relatively lower fares to major destinations in Africa and said that the aim was to encourage more Africans to travel by air.

The reports said that the new airline might begin business next year and would be patterned on Virgin Atlantic's similar operations in Europe and Australia. Branson recently established a presence in Nigeria with the entry of Virgin Atlantic on the lucrative Lagos-London route.

British Airways operates 10 of the weekly frequencies open to the two British carriers on the Lagos-London route leaving only four for Virgin Atlantic.

Nigeria Airways which has just leased an aircraft operates only four of the frequencies available for Nigeria's two operators. Before now Nigeria Airways and Virgin had been negotiating on the possibility of a joint venture on the route.

But Branson told Vanguard in London that a joint venture between the two airlines was still possible, even as Nigeria Airways has resumed its operations with the leased Boeing 747 aircraft, stressing that Virgin still wants to collaborate with the national carrier on the unused slots.

He said further that Virgin "is also considering a joint venture with Nigeria Airways on other routes."

Source: Airwise