Ethiopian Airlines first flew its brand new and first B787 to fly a third world livery to Lagos Nigeria. This was a very historic and symbolic gesture and may signal the importance of Nigerian market to Ethiopian.
Now Ethiopian is planning to fly directly to 5 Nigerian cities - Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu. This is a first for any foreign airline in Nigeria, and the first scheduled international service to Enugu. Nigeria's fast growing economy is largely unaffected by the recession in Europe and America. Nigeria with 160 million people, has an insatiable appetite for Chinese and Asian consumer goods and agricultural products. Thousands of Nigerian businessmen fly regularly to China, India and other Asian countries.
Nigerians mostly fly to Asia through three indirect routes. Through the Gulf States airlines (Emirates, Qatar, Etihad) or by Ethiopian Airlines and Kenyan Airways. Is the Nigerian market critical to Ethiopian Airline's expansion plans and its stated goal to be the pre-eminent African airline?