Chinese airline launches country’s first direct flight to Africa

3 November 2006

Beijing, China, 03 Nov – Chinese air carrier, China Southern Airlines is to launch a route to Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, which will be the first time a Chinese airline flies directly to Africa, the company said in a statement.

According to the statement issued Wednesday in Beijing, China Southern Airlines will carry out three flights per week to Lagos, which is still the commercial and industrial center of Nigeria and was the country’s capital until 1991

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer and Beijing has pledged to loan the West African country US$7 billion.

At the beginning of 2006, Chinese state oil company China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) acquired a 45 percent stake in an undersea oil operation in Nigeria to the value of US$2.27 billion, the company’s biggest foreign acquisition.

The announcement of China Southern’s new route was made a few days before the beginning of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which takes place in Beijing between Friday and Sunday.

FOCAC will bring together heads of state and government from 48 African countries in Beijing and is the biggest international event to be held in China since communist China was set up in 1949.

Chinese government figures show that bilateral trade between China and Africa this year will exceed US$50 billion, or five times more than the amount in 2000. (macauhub)