Delta Air Lines Takes Off From New York JFK to Nigeria

Delta has relaunched New York JFK to Lagos, Nigeria. The first service took off from the USA on June 18th and arrived the following afternoon. The return departed from the West African country on June 20th. Delta’s resumption means that Lagos has non-stop flights to three US cities.

Delta returns to Lagos

Like many airlines on innumerable routes globally, Delta temporarily ceased JFK-Lagos in March 2020. It returned in July 2021 before being paused again. After a month or so, it returned in December 2021, in time for Christmas, and paused again in mid-January. Now it’s back. It has the following schedule, with all times local. Note that aircraft stay overnight in Nigeria.

  • JFK to Lagos: DL214, 23:05-15:20+1 (11h 15m block time); Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays
  • Lagos to JFK: DL215, 11:00-17:00 (11h); Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays

The route uses the B767-300ER with 226 seats: 26 in Delta One suites, 35 recliners in Delta Comfort+, and 165 seats in Main Cabin. Previously, Lagos only saw the A330-200, typically with 234 seats and about 30% more Delta One suites.

It is due to return to the A330-200 from October 29th. However, the higher-premium, four-class, 223-seat configuration is scheduled to operate instead. These have 34 in Delta One, 21 Premium Select, 24 in Comfort+, and just 144 in Main Cabin. It means the proportion of regular economy seats will reduce from 73% to 65%, hopefully improving route performance by increasing passenger revenue per available seat mile.

When writing, DL215 is just off the coast of Dakar, Senegal, en route to JFK. Image: Flightradar24.

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Delta on JFK-Lagos: a summary

Having only launched the 5,250-mile (8,449km) link between JFK and Lagos in March 2018, Delta is a relative newcomer on the airport pair. It was attracted by the size of the market, one of the largest between Africa and the US. It was also motivated by the exit of Nigeria’s Arik Air in 2017, meaning it was unserved.

They followed in the footsteps of, among others, Nigeria Airways (until August 1993; DC-10), South African Airways (beginning/ending in Johannesburg; February 2001-March 2002), and North American Airlines (July 2006-April 2008; B767-300ER).

Lagos to the US

Delta serves Lagos from Atlanta and JFK, while United inaugurated Washington Dulles in late 2021. The carrier last served Lagos from Houston, a so-called oil route, in June 2016. In the current week, the following is available:

  1. Atlanta to Lagos: Delta, 1x daily, A330-200
  2. JFK to Lagos: Delta, 3x weekly, B767-300ER
  3. Washington Dulles to Lagos: United, 3x weekly, B787-8

United began Washington Dulles-Lagos on November 29th, 2021. In the other direction, the first flight was on December 1st. Photo: via United Airlines.

JFK Lagos in 2019

In 2019, the last normal year, the US Department of Transportation shows that Delta carried 62,392 passengers on JFK-Lagos-JFK. With 72,497 seats for sale, it had a seat load factor of 86%.

Despite the size of point-to-point (P2P) demand, booking data shows that only around four in ten of Delta’s passengers were local to/from JFK. The rest transited JFK, mainly to Boston, Dulles, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Chicago O’Hare. Delta only had about a 20% share of the P2P market.

If you were to fly between the US and Nigeria, which airline would you choose? Let us know in the comments.

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