Posted by By PHILIP NWOSU on
Before the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft came down, the airline had the reputation of flying local and international routes for 10 years without any blemish.
Before the Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft came down, the airline had the reputation of flying local and international routes for 10 years without any blemish. Indeed, the airline scored many firsts in the field of aviation in Nigeria and Africa, that when the accident occurred on Saturday evening, many passengers were on queue at the counter of the airline, still booking spaces for their local and international travels.
For them, Bellview airlines remains one of the safest airlines in the local route, even internationally.
According to some passengers who started flying the airlines seven years ago, Bellview remains one of the airlines that braved Abuja routes in the early days of democracy in Nigeria when it introduced the Abuja shuttle flight, which sees passengers to and from Abuja for governmental meetings and business engagements.
The Chief Executive Officer of the organisation, Mr. Kayode Odukoya, told Daily Sun in a recent interview that the successes recorded by the company is a result of its hardwork since 1992 when it started operations as an airline.
He said: "In 1992, Bellview Airlines commenced scheduled passenger services within the country, using a DC-9-32 series aircraft leased directly from the Boeing Company. The airline and her affiliate, Bellview Sierra Leone, have since grown into a sector leader in the country and flagship regional carrier in the West African sub-region, providing services to seven international destinations in Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal, Ghana, Gambia. Our operations have expanded into central African countries of Cameroun and Gabon.
"Bellview thus operates in nine countries, with over 25 daily scheduled flights to 11 cities in the sub-region."
He said that the Airlines have continued to maintain a good share of the air transport market in the West African region, especially when it was voted the best airline of the year in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998- four consecutive years-in the country.
Daily Sun learnt that the successes recorded by the airlines is a result of over 15 years of hard work and the airline’s Chief Executive Officer said "this is just our early days and so far, we’ve been able to build a strong airline. I think the credit for evolving a strong airline should not be given to me alone. It belongs to the entire team."
The airline started as a travel agency in Lagos in 1989. Three years after, it leased a Russian-built aircraft, a Yak-40 with a seating capacity of 30 with which it commenced executive charter operations.
The airline now operates London Heathrow, United Kingdom and Mumbai (Bombay) in India, with plans to expand the long haul services to destinations like Dubai and Johannesburg soon.
With this record, Odukoya said: "We want to grow to become the strongest airline on the continent. We’re really moving gradually to that and you’ll believe that it is no easy feat. It’s a great challenge and you need capital and determination to get there. But we’re undeterred."