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United Airlines Announces The Start of Lagos, Nigeria Services

A United Airlines Boeing 787 rotates out of San Francisco. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

This week United Airlines filed flights between Lagos, Nigeria and Washington Dulles from November 29, 2021. Initially, these flights were announced in September 2020, with a scheduled launch date in the Spring of 2021. However, United Airlines received Nigerian government approval for the route to the Nigerian city recently.

On the leg from Washington Dulles to Lagos, United Airlines Flight 612 departs at 6:30 P.M. and arrives at 10:40 A.M, for a total flight time of 10 hours and 10 minutes. The aircraft sits in Lagos for 13 hours, before flying the return leg from Lagos to Washington Dulles. The Chicago-based carrier departs at 11:50 P.M. and arrives at 6 A.M, for a total flight time of 12 hours and 10 minutes.

On the departure leg to Lagos, United Airlines operates on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, arriving on the next day. Meanwhile, on the return leg, United Airlines operates on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, arriving the next day. 

These flights will utilize United Airlines’ Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which features a new retrofit seating 243 passengers. Specifically, the aircraft includes 28 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration in its Polaris business class; 21 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration in its Premium Plus cabin; 36 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration in its economy plus cabin and 158 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration in its economy class cabin.

History In Africa

Lagos, Nigeria will become the fourth point on United Airlines’ Africa route map. Currently, United Airlines flies from Washington Dulles to Accra, Ghana and from Newark to Johannesburg. A flight from Newark to Cape Town, South Africa will resume in early December 2021, after its initial launch in December 2019.

In the past, United Airlines began its first flights to Africa in 2010, connecting Washington Dulles with a daily connector route to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria, using a Boeing 767-300. Due to Nigerian government approval, the launch of the connection to Lagos was postponed until December 2010, per AirlineRoute. 

Ultimately, this flight was replaced with a daily connection between the energy hubs of Houston and Lagos, Nigeria, in late 2011, using a Boeing 777-200ER. Meanwhile, flights to Accra, Ghana were cut in July 2012. The sole flight to Africa lasted five years until 2016 when it was terminated due to a weak energy sector at the time. Per a memo from United Airlines, the airline pulled the route due to poor financial performance over the last several years, investing in it due to its importance with Houston’s business customers.

Winter Expansion

Earlier this month, United Airlines announced three new leisure flights from Cleveland, Chicago and Denver to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. From Cleveland, the Chicago-based carrier added a flight to Nassau using its Embraer E175. Additionally, United Airlines will operate new flights from Chicago to Guatemala City and Denver to Roatan, Honduras.

Furthermore, or the winter of 2021/2022, United Airlines has added two new flights from Barbados to Newark and Washington Dulles in December, and increased the frequency of its Latin American, Caribbean and Mexican portfolio. In total, the Chicago-based carrier intends to operate 167 daily flights during the wintertime to Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, representing a 26 percent capacity increase compared to winter 2019.

United Airlines is improving its portfolio to “warm-weather” destinations for the winter of 2021/2022, adding over 137 weekly flights domestically to destinations like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and more. For example, the Chicago-based carrier is flying 25 additional daily flights through its hub in Newark and up to 14 additional daily flights from its Newark hub.

Winston Shek


  • Winston Shek

    Ever since Winston was a toddler, he has always had a fascination for airplanes. From watching widebodies land at Washington Dulles to traveling the world, Winston has always had his eyes towards the skies. Winston began aviation photography in 2018 and now posts his photos occasionally on his Instagram account. He previously wrote for a blog. In his free time, Winston loves to play chess, do recreational activities, and watch sports. Looking into the future, Winston plans to service the aviation industry.

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