Africa Bound

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Africa BoundNigeria is a destination on the rise–and Continental Airlines plans to take advantage of the country’s growing popularity. The carrier has announced that its first flights to Africa will be to Lagos, Nigeria. But it won’t be its only.

Following the introduction of the Dreamliner flight from Houston to Lagos, starting Nov. 10, 2011, Continental Airlines will later fly between Newark Liberty and Cairo, Egypt, beginning May 18, 2011, subject to government approval. “While Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East, launching the flights to Africa, initially to Nigeria, was a smart move,” says PJ Thomas, editor and publisher of African-American travel magazine Pathfinders. “Nigeria’s population is explosive and there is a very large population of Nigerians currently residing in the U.S. who travel back and forth for business as well as to visit family back home,” she announces. “Americans visiting Nigeria would certainly have an affinity for flying to Africa aboard a legacy carrier such as Continental.”

In fact, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the eighth most populous worldwide. Plus, its economy is  one of the fastest growing in the world being the third largest economy in Africa.

“We are excited to continue to expand our international route network from Houston by adding nonstop service to Lagos,” said Jeff Smisek – Continental’s chairman, president and chief executive officer – in a press statement. “This flight will link two energy capitals and fill the growing demand for nonstop service between the two cities – a route which is currently not served by any other airline.”

It is the first daily scheduled service, taking a total of just four hours – offered between Texas and Africa – and will be flown with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It was planned as Continental’s first new international service to operate with the new jet.