Peachtree City-based World Airways Inc. wants to re-establish service with Lagos, Nigeria, but may be unable to do so from Atlanta, according to Jeff MacKinney, a senior vice president of the charter airline.
World Airways stopped the service in December due to a contract dispute with RiteTime Travel and Aviation Service Inc., a travel agency that promoted and sold tickets for the service.
“We are interested at looking at other opportunities and partnerships to re-establish service,” Mr. MacKinney, who is to assume the position of chief operating officer on Thursday, April 1, told GlobalFax during a telephone interview last week.
“We have been approached by a number of groups interested in direct service between the United States and Nigeria. However, we cannot promise that there will be nonstop flights departing from Atlanta.”|
World Airways, which was founded in 1948, began providing two flights a week between Lagos, Nigeria, Atlanta and New York on May 28, 2003.
The dispute between the airline and the travel agency involves stranded passengers who paid for round trip tickets to Nigeria, but were unable to return when service was terminated on Dec. 28. New York attorney Ike Echeruo has filed a class action suit on behalf of the travelers to recover airfare.
World Airways agreed last week to pay the fare for one of the passengers. A hearing is scheduled in New York on Monday, March 15, during which Mr. Echeruo is to seek return tickets for stranded passengers holding now worthless tickets.
Since the service lasted only seven months, Joe Keshi, consul general of Nigeria in Atlanta, still is not questioning the validity of the service. He said “It is too early to project results.”
Before May 28 of last year, travelers flying from the United States to Nigeria had to make connections through Frankfurt, Germany or London, an 18-hour journey.
Mr. MacKinney may be reached at (770) 632-8000.