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Delta Expands Africa Presence With First-Ever Flight from the US to Monrovia, Liberia

Bob Johnson, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf, and Delta Air Lines jointly announce new flight service

eTN Staff Writer  Oct 22, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC - Delta Air Lines, the only US carrier to serve Africa, today jointly announced that it will expand its service to the continent with the introduction of the first and only flight between Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Monrovia's Roberts International Airport, Liberia (subject to government approval). The service, which will make a stop in Amilcar Cabral International Airport on Sal Island, Cape Verde (subject to government approval), will start in June 2009.

"Delta is pleased to add Monrovia to our industry-leading Africa network," said Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president - Network and Revenue Management. "Passenger traffic to and from Africa continues to grow at some of the highest rates in the world. We have been very pleased with the response to our flights to Africa and look forward to serving Liberia and contributing to its trade and tourism development efforts."

Currently, Delta offers service between the United States and six African destinations with flights between New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Accra, Ghana; Dakar, Senegal, Cairo, Egypt, and Cape Town in South Africa (via Dakar) and between Atlanta and Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa (via Dakar).

In an announcement at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Liberia's President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf praised Delta's investment in her country. "I was excited to learn that Delta Air Lines has made the commitment to provide direct flight service to Liberia," said President Sirleaf.

"Liberia continues to flourish and with the commitment by companies in the US to do business in our country, there is opportunity for continued economic growth. This development also provides convenience for Liberians in Diaspora to come home and to bring their skills and talents in support of the country's development. Delta Air Lines is providing a means to bring business into the country and we welcome them," she concluded.

Bob Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies, which owns significant development projects in Liberia, also commented on the flight and his investments in Liberia during the press conference. "Two years ago while attending the Clinton Global Initiative and after hearing President Sirleaf appeal to the American private sector for support, I made a commitment to mobilize $30 million for Liberia," said Bob Johnson.

"I have further committed to mobilizing funds through a recent $100 million finance protocol with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to build housing, as well as to build an 84-room villa style hotel, the RLJ Kendja Resort & Villas, opening in March 2009. I applaud Delta Air Lines for making the commitment to provide direct air service to Liberia, which will provide economic growth opportunities to Liberia from a variety of business sectors around the world," Johnson concluded.

Delta's new service between Atlanta and Monrovia will operate once weekly using a Boeing 757 aircraft with up to 174 seats in a two-cabin configuration. Passengers on the only direct flight between the US and Liberia will benefit from significant time savings compared to other routes. Moreover, they will also be able to connect to 150 destinations throughout the US, Latin America, and the Caribbean via Delta's Atlanta hub.

Liberia is situated in West Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the country's southwest. The country has strong historical and cultural ties to the United States. With key exports of minerals and timber, there is also a strong and growing market for business traffic between Liberia and the US.

Bob Johnson, Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf, and Delta Air Lines jointly announce new flight service
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