By Louis Ibah, Lagos
American carrier, United Airlines is to train young Nigerian female pilots as part of its contribution to efforts to boost women in aviation in Africa, its Senior Vice President International Network Planning and Alliances, Patrick Quayle has said.
Speaking at an event to mark the airline’s Washington – Lagos inaugural flight in Ikeja on Wednesday, Quayle said 10 female candidates would be selected from Nigeria and the bills for their training as pilots bankrolled by the airline.
‘In the future, we will be making the commitment to training young female Nigerian women. We will bring them to the US to get the best of training at United Airlines so that they will impact Nigeria and have a better opportunity to fly an aircraft. We are looking at 10 individuals,’ he said.
With three weekly flights, United is the first and only airline serving Washington, DC, nonstop from Lagos. The flight is operated with state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring United’s award-winning United PolarisSM business class cabin and United Premium PlusSM premium economy seats. The new service marks United’s return to Nigeria, which the airline previously served up until 2016.
A water cannon salute marked the arrival of United flight UA612 with Oluwatomi Bola-Sadipe, United’s Country Sales Manager Nigeria, Victoria Shin-Aba, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Regional General Manager and Claire Pierangelo, US Consul General welcoming the first arriving United customers at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
‘This new flight from Lagos reinforces our ongoing commitment to growing our network in Africa and providing more convenient service to the destinations our customers want to fly to most,’ said Quayle.
‘This highly anticipated service will provide a key gateway between Lagos and Washington DC, as well as easy one-stop connections to almost 80 destinations across the Americas, including Houston and Chicago.’
Mary Beth Leonard, US Ambassador to Nigeria, who also spoke at the event, said: ‘This exciting initiative further expands our economic relationship, promotes people-to-people ties, and creates new opportunities for United, travel companies, and customers alike.
‘The new flight builds on United’s expansion into Africa and solidifies the airline’s leadership position from Africa to the US Earlier this year, United launched a new service between Johannesburg and New York/Newark and between Accra and Washington, DC This December and January, United will increase its Accra service from three weekly flights to daily. United will also bring back its popular nonstop service between Cape Town and New York/Newark on 1 December 2021.’