Arik Air will commence twice weekly flights from Lagos to Roberts International Airport, Monrovia, on 12 August 2010. The flights on Mondays and Thursdays will be operated via Accra with a CRJ900 aircraft. Schedule (all local time):
- W3 087 LOS-ACC-ROB 07:20 – 07:25 / 07:55 – 09:55
- W3 088 ROB-ACC-LOS 10:25 – 12:25 / 12:55 – 15:00
It will be the first new destination for Arik Air this year. Air Nigeria already operates four weekly flights between Nigeria and Liberia also via Ghana.
IRS Airlines had a B727 (5N-RIR; in a basic American Airlines livery with additional ‘8th All Africa Games 2003’ titles) stored at Lanseria (South Africa) since 2003. Reportedly, the aircraft is now cut into four pieces and will be transported to Swaziland where it will serve as a fire training aircraft.
Air Nigeria will lease a B737-300 (5N-VNJ; ex-N542MS) from GECAS. The aircraft is currently stored at Dublin. The airline earlier announced it will increase its fleet from five to ten aircraft before October 2010.
The chairman and managers of Arik Air have been indicted for tax evasion by the EFCC. According to the report of the commission:
Investigation revealed that Arik Air Limited is an habitual tax evader. Their evasion history dates back to the period of commencement. Their account books are understated. The chairman does not consider tax as part of the company’s obligation. They collect tax on behalf of government and invest it in their business.
The EFCC recommends legal prosecution against the airline and will also probe the sources of the firm’s funding.
Aero (Aero Contractors) announced that it has reached agreement to restructure its loans of about N33 billion ($220 million) with Oceanic Bank. The airline is now completely in hands of the Ibru Group as CHC Helicopter Corporation (CHC) ceded its 40% stake in the airline to the Ibru family. Aero and CHC will continue their technical relationship and concluded a new ten-year agreement.
Air Nigeria will soon commence flights from Lagos to Brazzaville via Douala and Cotonou on 8 August 2010. The capital of the Republic of the Congo will be ninth regional destination for the airline. Flights are operated with an EMB-190. Here are the schedules:
Lagos – Cotonou – Brazzaville – Douala – Cotonou – Lagos 3 weekly (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)
- VK855 LOS 2040 – 2120 COO 2155 – 0025+1 BZV 0100+1 – 0245+1 DLA
- VK824 DLA 0320 – 0450 COO 0525 – 0555 LOS
Lagos – Cotonou – Douala – Brazzaville – Cotonou – Lagos 4 weekly (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays)
- VK825 LOS 2040 – 2120 COO 2155 – 2325 DLA 2359 – 0145+1 BZV
- VK854 BZV 0220 – 0450 COO 0525 – 0555 LOS
Air Nigeria also increased its number of daily flights between Lagos and Abuja to eight, thereby overtaking Arik Air in terms of frequency on the busiest domestic route.
Air Nigeria’s new scheduled flights from Lagos to Owerri, effective the 15th of July:
- VK 65 LOS QOW 10:50-12:05 (Weekdays)
- VK 65 LOS QOW 11:40-12:55 (Saturdays)
- VK 65 LOS QOW 11:35-12:05 (Sundays)
- VK 64 QOW LOS 12:40-13:50 (Weekdays)
- VK 64 QOW LOS 13:30-14:45 (Saturdays)
- VK 64 QOW LOS 13:25-14:40 (Sundays)
- Air Nigeria settled the old Virgin Nigeria debt of $237 million with UBA. The airline has now cleared all its outstanding debts.
- Aero re-introduced a fuel surcharge of N500 on all its tickets. The surcharge is now approved by the NCAA.
- Aero announced the introduction of the first mobile web and SMS ticketing service in Africa. The service enables passengers to book and pay for their flight tickets using their mobile phones, and is aimed at empowering more passengers to travel by air regularly.
- Arik Air received the first Air Operator Certificate (AOC) under the new Federal Government mandatory recertification order.
- Two of Arik Air’s four B737s currently abroad for maintenance will return this week. The airline hopes that this will end the disruptions to its flight schedule. The airline is yet to pay its employees for last month though.
- Overland Airways’ ATR42 (5N-BCS) was ferried back to Nigeria after an overhaul at Dinard (France).
- The Federal Government will seek fresh bids for the construction of a second runway at Abuja’s airport after canceling a contract earlier awarded for the project.
- According to rumours the management of Bellview Airlines is trying to make a restart as ‘Nation Airways’ or ‘First Nation Airlines’, operating a fleet of A320s.
One of the old Virgin Nigeria/Nigerian Eagle B737-300s has returned to the fleet of Air Nigeria. The aircraft (5N-VNF) was stored at Le Bourget since last year. Air Nigeria’s fleet now consists of 2 EMB190s and 4 B733s.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) grounded Chanchangi Airlines after the airline’s single aircraft developed engine problems at Lagos Airport. Commercial airlines in Nigeria are required to have at least two operational aircraft.
The Federal Government has approved Kabo Air, MaxAir, Meridian Airlines and Medview Airline as official carriers to airlift Nigerian pilgrims during the Hajj of 2010.
Arik Air announced it is planning to build a $150 million (about N22.5 billion) Aviation Academy in the Edo State to train cadet pilots and airline support staff members. Rockson Engineering, another company owned by the Arumemi-Johnson family, has also concluded plans to build the country’s third largest independent power plant at Igumon community, near Benin, the state capital, at the cost of $800 million (about N120 billion). One wonders how Arik Air will finance these projects as the airline experiences problems paying its bills in the past months.
The MD of Arik Air also announced that the airline will soon commence flights to Paris and Dubai.
Aero will commence non-stop Lagos-Kano-Lagos flights on Monday, 19 July 2010. It is a daily service according to the following schedule:
- LOS-KAN AJ141 11:30-13:15
- KAN-LOS AJ142 13:45-15:30