Though many of them now originate in New York, Atlanta has been a key hub for Delta's flights to Africa.

Delta Air Lines Inc. on Dec. 3 celebrated five years of nonstop flights between the United States and Nigeria, which have carried 570,000 passengers since service launched in 2007. 

“Nigeria continues to be one of the most important business markets in Delta’s international network and we are committed to serving Lagos for many years to come,” said Bobby Bryan, Delta’s commercial manager for West and East Africa, based in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Delta has also carried 6,500 tons of cargo on the flights since Dec. 3, 2007, when service began with a flight between Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

While many of them now originate from New York, Atlanta has been a key hub for Delta’s flights to Africa, a fast-growing aviation market where the airline has gotten a head start on other U.S. carriers. Many offer Africa service only via Europe, while Delta travelers can reach GhanaLiberia, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa directly.  

In August, Delta decided to cut its nonstop routes between Atlanta and Accra, Ghana, and Monrovia, Liberia, instead ramping up service to both cities by increasing frequencies between New York and Accra. 

Sales in East Africa, meanwhile, have grown even in the absence of a direct flight to the region. After lobbying for a Kenya flight that in 2009 was postponed indefinitely, Delta kept its sales office open in Nairobi, Mr. Bryan told Global Atlanta in August. 

The airline has seen increasing demand for U.S. flights via its European partner KLM and for its own nonstop routes from Dubai and South Africa to the United States, Mr. Bryan said. 

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As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...