|(L – R) Mr. Protogene Marc Nsengiyaremye, representing the Charge D’Affaires of Rwanda in Nigeria; Her Excellency, Amb. Toure Nee Kone Maman, Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria; and Mrs. Aicha Ouidi Baba Moussa, Head of Commercial, Air Cote d’Ivoire and the Country Manager, Mr. Moustapha Fofana during the airline’s launch of direct flights to Abuja.
Air Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa’s fastest growing regional carrier, recently celebrated the launch of its direct flights into Abuja, the twentieth destination to be opened in its impressive network across the West and Central African sub region. A brand new Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 aircraft configured with 7 seats in Business Class and 60 Economy Class seats was commissioned on the route.
Present at the occasion to lend their support and witness the commencement of the flight were top members of the diplomatic corps including Her Excellency, Amb. Toure Nee Kone Maman, Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador to Nigeria; His Excellency, Amb. Abubakar Samba, Senegalese Ambassador to Nigeria; and Mr. Protogene Marc Nsengiyaremye, representing the Charge D’Affaires of Rwanda in Nigeria. Top officials of the airline who also heralded the launch include Head of Commercial, Mrs. Aicha Ouidi Baba Moussa and The Country Manager, Nigeria, Mr. Moustapha Fofana.
Cote d’Ivoire’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Kone Maman expressed delight on the achievement and thanked the government and people of Nigeria for allowing Air Cote d’Ivoire to commence direct flights into Abuja. She noted that: “Nigeria is a big nation and the expectations are high. We thank everyone for supporting Air Cote d’ivoire and we will work hard to meet their expectations.” Also identifying with the remarkable feat, the Charge D’Affaires of Rwanda, Mr. Nsengiyaremye congratulated Air Cote d’Ivoire and urged the airline to invest in capacity development to ensure the airline has competent personnel to operate and maintain its aircraft fleet.
“We are excited by this new service into Abuja, the Federal Capital of Nigeria. The flight arrived on time and departed on schedule. And in spite of little or no adverts we had five passengers in Business Class and the flight was half full,” said Mr. Fofana. Speaking further, he said: “Abuja is an important market for Air Cote d’Ivoire because of the diplomatic community and ECOWAS.”
The service is operated three times weekly out of Abidjan into Abuja on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 19:45 hours and arrives at 23:15 hours. The return service from Abuja to Abidjan is on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday departing at 09:20 hours and arrives at 11:10 hours local time. Passengers have a baggage allowance of 40kgs in Business and 30kgs in Economy. The airline offers customers personalised services, comfortable and spacious Business Class seats, power outlets in every Business Class seat and two for every three Economy Class seat; as well as Individual Headphones in all classes.
Addressing Travel Agents during a partner’s reception to celebrate the flight, Mr. Fofana promised to operate an open door relationship with them and pledged to offer all the support they might require to help grow the market. “We have started Abuja with three weekly flights one year after commencing flights into Lagos five times a week. With your support we can grow the number of flights in Abuja to five weekly flights or even seven,” he noted.
As part of plans to encourage its partners, Mr Fofana further informed that aside from a 6% commission rate on tickets sold, the airline also plans to say thank you by applying various reward strategies ranging from free Business and Economy Class tickets for a specified volume of business as well as various accruable benefits through its Frequent Flyer Programme tagged SMILE.
Air Cote d’Ivoire is the national carrier of Cote d’Ivoire with a workforce of over 482 employees including more than 63 Pilots, 137 Cabin Crew and 282 Ground Staff operating a young fleet of seven aircraft comprising three A319s, one A320 and three Dash 8-Q400s.