By Gabriel Omonhinmin.
Qatar Airways has, in a ground breaking ceremony in Kano this month, begin four weekly flights from its headquarters in Doha to the Nigerian state.
The airline also began a similar three weekly flights to Port Harcourt in the South-South region of Nigeria.
Qatar Airways introduced the flight operation to Nigeria to boost its services in Africa. The airline’s flight operates via Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Before the Kano and Port Harcourt routes were introduced, Qatar Airways was operating two flights to Lagos daily and four times a week to Abuja.
Qatar Airways management says it will be servicing the routes with its state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner airline, which has 22 seats in Business Class and 232 in the Economy Class.
The airline management said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic gradually eases across the globe, we are restoring our services to all our African destinations. Now, with Kano and Port Harcourt among our new operational routes, we will be providing 188 weekly flights to twenty-eight destinations in Africa.”
Qatar Airways’ Vice President for Africa, Hendrik Du Preez, said the new route would connect to over 140 destinations across our network, apart from Kano to Doha.
Preez said: “Kano has been a trade and travel hub for hundreds of years. By linking it to the world’s best airport in Hamid International Airport in Doha, we hope to grow traffic between these two important traveling hubs.”
Dr. Shuabi Sani-Shuabi, Director of Makuba Center For Arts and Culture, based in Kano City, told The Trumpet newspaper in an exclusive interview that the presence of His Royal Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, at the unveiling ceremony of the airline in Aminu Kano International Airport on March 2nd, 2022, was not unexpected. This is because the Emir in his early days in life, long before ascending the throne of Kano, took some courses in aviation and piloting. His presence at the event was a tacit support of the Kano royalty and the good people of Kano for the Qatar Airways business in Kano state.
He, however, gave a detailed account of how the Kano State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Abdullahi Ganduje, worked very hard, to meet the stringent conditions Qatar Airways headquarters’ in Doha, insisted must be met before it could commence its flight operations to Kano City.
“The Airline demanded, among other conditions, that there must be an improved security architecture in and around Kano city and the state capital. In the same breath, the airline demanded that the hospitality industry and facilities in Kano city and the state in general, must be overhauled and improved upon to meet international and world standards.
“These conditions among others then were regarded as tough, by the state government. The state government through cheer determination diligently set-out to meet these conditions. Thereafter, the state government not only provided the enabling environments and conditions for the hospitality industry in Kano state to begin to thrive.
“Dr. Ganduje’s administration even went a step further, to develop some of these facilities in the hospitality industry in Kano state. Hence, there are so many five star hotels and recreational facilities in Kano city as at today.
“The Aminu Kano International Airport facilities were also in the process of meeting these conditions, also improved upon the facilities. The Ganduje’s administration must be commended for battling what used to be the scourge of banditry and kidnapping in the state. They were taken on headlong by the state government and fought to a standstill that is why there is absolute peace in Kano State today. The state to a certain degree today remains one of the safest states in the entire Northern region as far as banditry and kidnapping are concerned.
“Before Qatar Airways came into Aminu Kano International Airport, the state government was also in talks with the Emirate and Ethiopia Airlines, who also gave similar conditions.
“I am sure the Rivers State government was also made to meet these conditions, before the Airline decided to make Port Harcourt one of its routes.
“Now that Qatar Airways has commenced operation fully in Kano, and the modern railway facilities being built by the Nigerian government, which is also linked to the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano state will now be fully connected to other major cities and towns in Nigeria.
Dr. Shuabi Sani-Shuabi further explained, “The ripple effect of all these activities is that the Northern Business Corridor as expected, will henceforth be reinvigorated, and become fully operational. This will in effect give life to the now moribund Trans-Sahara Trade which at some point became comatose because of poor transportation system, facilities and security problems.
“As we speak, the 27 million dollar Kano Dala Inland Dry Port located in Kumbotso Local Government Area of the state will be completed sometime in December this year. Already, the Kano State government has spent N2.3 billion Naira for the construction of access road, perimeter fence, electricity and water supply at the site. This project, which began 20 years ago, was designated a Special Economic Zone by the Federal Government.
“He explained, when this particular project is complete and becomes operational, the cost of transporting goods for example from Lagos ports to Kano state, will drastically reduce. Presently, it costs about N1.2 million Naira, to transport a container from Lagos to Kano by road, it will just cost a mere N200, 000.00(Two Hundred Thousand Naira) only to transport the same container from Lagos to Kano. Another advantage is that, a container that berthed at the Lagos port will be transported by rail to Kano in 24 hours instead of days and weeks, as the case used to be. In summary, this will reactivate the Trans-Sahara commercial activities in no small measure.
Dr. Sani-Shuabi concluded: “Kano is reputed for producing great business entrepreneurs over the centuries, with all these additional business corridors being opened, Nigeria is set to produce more millionaires and business moguls in the next ten years.