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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ABUJA1058 2009-06-15 08:55:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

NIGERIA: DELTA NEW YORK-ABUJA ROUTE LAUNCHES WITH THE

Tags:   EAIR ECON EAID ASEC ERTD EINV PGOV NI 
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VZCZCXRO8596
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1058 1660855
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150855Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6304
INFO RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS PRIORITY 1513
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 0059
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0379
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0423
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0380
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC
					  UNCLAS ABUJA 001058 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT PASS TO USTDA-MARIN; EXIM-RICHTER
DEPT PASS USAID AFR/SD FOR CURTIS AND ATWOOD
JOHANNESBURG FOR USTDA-NAGY
BAGHDAD FOR MCCULLOUGH
ROME PASS TO TSA - ANTHONY GIOVANNIELLO
DAKAR PASS TO FAA - MOIRA KEANE
DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION FOR FAA MCINTRON, AHARRIS
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS AND 3130/USFC/OIO/ANESA/MCREED

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: EAIR ECON EAID ASEC ERTD EINV PGOV NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: DELTA NEW YORK-ABUJA ROUTE LAUNCHES WITH THE
TOUCHDOWN IN ABUJA OF FLIGHT 216

REF: A. Abuja 596

B. ABUJA 592

B. ABUJA 456

C. ABUJA 361

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -PROTECT ACCORDINGLY



1. (SBU) Summary. Delta flight 215 touched down at Abuja Nnamdi
Azikiwe International Airport June 11 at 12:13 p.m., currently the
only U.S. flag carrier to fly direct from the U.S. to Nigeria's
capital city Abuja. The plane was met by a full staff of ground
crews and customer service staff to aid the passengers; but devoid
of any ceremony or fanfare. Delta chose to underplay the event due
to the security issues that caused the last minute cancelation of
its Nairobi and Monrovia routes. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Delta flight 216 from New York to Abuja made a
picture-perfect soft touchdown at Abuja Nnamdi Azikiwe International
Airport on June 11 at 12:13 pm. The Boeing 757 plane was met by
Delta ground and customer service crews, making sure the passengers
received the best possible customer service as they deplaned and
collected their luggage; but the arrival was devoid of any
ceremonial fanfare. Delta is sensitive regarding the last minute
cancellation of two African routes the first week of June and the
large ceremony that had to be cancelled in Nairobi, Kenya.



3. (U) Delta held a press conference at the Abuja Sheraton hotel at
2:00 pm on June 11 to make formal announcements. The direct flight
between New York's John F. Kennedy International airport (JFK) and
Abuja International airport has begun with service twice weekly and
moves to three times weekly effective July 1. It is the only direct
service from the capital city to the United States. The new route
offers passengers more than 45 connections to destinations such as
Washington DC, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston and Chicago.



4. (SBU) The day concluded with an evening meeting held for ticket
and travel agents to discuss Delta's plans for the New York-Abuja
route. Delta Commercial Manager for East and West Africa Robert
Bryan shared with EconOff on June 11 that Delta is experiencing
significant reservation cancellations since the Atlanta and Nairobi,
Kenya and the Atlanta-Monrovia, Liberia routes were cancelled due to
security issues. On the Abuja routes, Delta is flying a Boeing
757-200 ETOPS aircraft with 174 seats; 16 in business class and 158
in economy. The flight departs Abuja at 10:15p.m. and arrives into
New York-JFK at 6:45 a.m. For the return trip, the flight departs
New York at 3:50 p.m. and arrives into Abuja at 10:30 a.m. the
following day. Both flights operate via Dakar, Senegal.



3. (SBU) Comment. The Mission is proud to see this direct flight
begin and will continue to work with the Abuja airport authorities,
Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, and Transportation Security
Administration, and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on safety
and security issues. Nigerian airline carriers are eager to fly to
the U.S. and Nigeria continues its quest to attain a Category 1
rating from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. End Comment.



4. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.

SANDERS