The launch marked the start of four new weekly services to Kano from Doha -the capital of Qatar, through Abuja, operating on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
The Airways’ state-of-the-art aircraft Boeing 787 Dreamliner touched down at the new terminal of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to a water-cannon salute at 11:16 am Nigerian time.
The aircraft has 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in Economy, it was learnt.
Qatar Airways’ Vice President for Africa, Hendrik Du Preez, said the new route would connect to over 140 destinations across its network, apart from Kano to Doha.
Preez said: “Kano has been a trade and travel hub for hundreds of years.
Now by linking it to the world’s best airport, Hamid International Airport in Doha, we hope to grow traffic between these two important hubs.
“We anticipate particular demand to and from India and other markets.
We also expect strong cargo demand.
This new service, not only underpins our commitment to Nigeria, but it is also a clear indicator of recovery and expected growth.
Preez said that in Nigeria, the airline offered three weekly fights to Abuja via Lagos in November 2020 which grew to four direct flights to Abuja in December 2021.
“In addition to the four weekly fights to Kano via Abuja, we will also start operating three weekly flights to Port Harcourt from Thursday March 3, 2022.
This will bring the number of services it operates between Africa and Doha to 188 weekly fights, serving 28 destinations across the continent.
Qatar Airways will apply flexible booking policy that offers unlimited changes to travel dates and destinations as well as fee-free refunds for all tickets issued for travel completed by May 31.
“Passengers flying to and from Kano will also benefit from Qatar Airways new baggage allowances, which provide for up to 46kg in Economy class split over two pieces, and 64kg, split over two pieces, in Business Class,” he said, promising safety, security, standard and customer satisfaction.
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, said the new flights provide important travel and trade links between Nigeria and the world.
Most populous state
“As the largest economy in Africa, this enhanced global connectivity, through the new Qatar Airways service, will provide a vital network to move goods and people, as we recover from challenges of the pandemic and prioritise growth.
Kano and Port Harcourt are both important to this recovery.
“This new service also reinforces the close ties between Nigeria and Qatar, and it paves the way to explore new untapped opportunities,” the minister said.
Nigeria’s Ambassador to Qatar, Ambassador Yakubu Abdullahi Ahmed said he was happy that Qatar heeded to his request by expanding it airways to Kano, which is the most populous state and commercial nerve centre of northern Nigeria.
“This will give me more opportunities of interaction and in carrying out my diplomatic assignment in Qatar,” he stated.
Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero said the launching of the Kano-Doha air services was a trace to history, as he recalled that the first aircraft into Nigeria landed in the Kano airport which was built in 1922, became operational in 1936 and commissioned in 1942.
The Emir said Qatar Airways will connect the country, through Kano, to the outside world and boost economic investment.
Qatar Airways Commences Flight from Kano