By Kenneth Ehigiator
Virgin Atlantic Airways’ Sales Agent in Nigeria, Chief John Adebanjo, last night, dismissed insinuations that the airline was planning to pull out of the country due to harsh operating environment.
Online publications were awashed yesterday with reports that the airline was on the verge of withdrawing its services in the country.
The reports also indicated that the management of the airline had started issuing disengagement letters to Nigerians on its employ, as a step to discontinuing flight operations to Nigeria.
But reacting to the reports, Chief Adebanjo, however, said admitted that the airline was discontinuing with the services of Nigerian crew in its operations, stressing that it was not an indication of a pull-out of Nigeria.
He said: ‘’ Virgin Atlantic Airways has no plans to pull out of Lagos route, we are committed to continue delivering the experience our customers love, whether they are flying for business or leisure.
‘’We have decided that we will no longer have crew based in Lagos. This is by no means a reflection on our Lagos-based cabin crew, the primary purpose of our locally based cabin crew has been to provide cultural expertise and customer feedback has shown us that this is no longer a requirement on the Lagos route.
‘’The additional complexity required to operate an international crew base where there are no foreign language requirement means it is no longer sustainable going forward. This announcement has no impact on our flying programme and we plan to continue flights between Lagos and London.
‘’After 14 years of flying the route, we remain committed to servicing the Nigeria people, whether it be for business, family or education.’’
Virgin Atlantic Airways, owned by British billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, started operations into Nigeria in 2001, and became the second largest carrier on the Lagos-London route, after British Airways.