Arik Air celebrates sixth anniversary
Arik Air celebrated that it commenced commercial operations on 30 October 2006. Some of the airline’s achievements and goals were presented by the airline during a press conference:
- The airline carried 10,2 million passengers in the past six years, obtaining a 65 per cent share of the domestic market. Arik has already carried 1,849,436 passengers in 2012.
- The airline plans to build a flight academy in Benin City as well as a maintenance hangar in Lagos in cooperation with Lufthansa Technik.
- Arik Air urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review the policy of withholding loans to heavily indebted domestic carriers.
- The airline intends to go public in the near future.
- The Savannah Express service from Lagos to Cotonou, Ouagadougou and Bamako has been suspended due to the unrest in Mali.
- Arik Air will further expand its network next year, including the launch of new direct flights from Accra and Freetown to London. Other cities on the radar are Abidjan, Conakry, Kinshasa, Malabo and Libreville. With regard to long-haul operations, the airline is still looking at the earlier announced Abuja-Kano-Jeddah and Lagos-Houston routes.
- Finally, Arik Air’s chairman shed some light on the acquisition and financing of the two A345s:
Let me give an example, when we were to get the A340-500, the French Finance Minister when we met she said she would give me Airbus aircraft and asked why was I buying Boeing and I said because the Americans give me money and she said we will give you in Europe too and I said okay and she said, I have three Airbus aircraft and I said I will take them. She said you are not up to five years old, why don’t you get the Nigerian banks to give you the guaranty.