Jamaica embraces historic direct flight from Nigeria

As a method of (re)connecting with descendants, and strengthening bilateral relations, Nigeria launched into a historic chartered flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica, in December 2020.

Dwelling caught up with the mastermind behind the pioneering initiative, Elizabeth Agboola, the British-Nigerian founding father of journey firm, Nigerians Journey Too. She defined that it was at all times a lifelong dream of hers to help within the efforts of this Nigerian-Caribbean connection.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

What began out as a jest at a diplomatic dinner in Abuja in November of 2019 turned out to be the grandest gesture any nation may ask for. Whereas on the elegant affair, Agboola engaged in gentle dialog with Jamaica’s Excessive Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Esmond Reid. She steered bringing a gaggle of Nigerians to Jamaica for a go to. This caused light-hearted laughter, since there have been direct no flights between the 2 nations, however Reid stated that one in all nowadays his dream would come true, via a chartered flight.

Agboola probed slightly additional and the excessive commissioner indicated that he would attain out to the Nigerian Airline Arik. The airline was thrilled however didn’t possess an plane sufficiently big to accommodate these journey plans. The corporate then contacted Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, founding father of Air Peace Airline, to see if he would have the ability to facilitate this good concept. The remaining, as they are saying, was flying historical past.

Agboola went to work advertising Jamaica because the vacation spot of alternative for the Christmas season. She flew from London to Lagos, talking with 40 companies about flying Air Peace. However then all plans got here crashing down with the hit of the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19. Regardless of the setback, Agboola sealed the take care of the airline. “I knew if I waited until 2021 to get this challenge off the bottom I must begin from scratch once more,” she advised Dwelling.

On December 21, 2020, a flight of 132 passengers departed from Murtala Muhammed Worldwide Airport, Lagos, and arrived on the Sangster Worldwide Airport in Montego Bay, St James. On-board had been Agboola; Nigeria’s Overseas Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; his spouse Sulola Onyeama; his delegates and others. The journey lasted 12 hours and all COVID-19 protocols had been noticed by the airline. They had been greeted by authorities officers and Jamaica Vacationer Board representatives. The Nigerian vacationers spent per week and returned to Nigeria, having had the very best Christmas expertise ever.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Agboola hope to take this twin connection and cultural celebration into 2021 and broaden the attain from solely flying to Jamaica to visiting different Caribbean nations.

This tour, dubbed Easter Within the Caribbean, is scheduled to happen in April. Plans are already beneath manner for a two-way flight, the place Jamaicans will have the ability to journey to Nigeria and embark on an thrilling tour of Africa in April.

“In case you are doing enterprise within the nation or seeking to do enterprise there, then this flight will make it simpler for you to take action, since it’s a central location to different locations of curiosity throughout the continent,” she stated.

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