Arik Air and Air Côte d’Ivoire may enter partnership
The officials of Air Côte d’Ivoire, the new carrier in the French-speaking West African country, said they visited Arik Air to seek ways of exploring mutual partnership between the two carriers to resolve the problem intra Africa connections. The officials led by General Coulibaly Abdoulaye, who is chairman of the Air Côte d’Ivoire explained that the visit to Arik Air has afforded them the opportunity to learn how to run a service driven airline, which would become a model in Africa. He explained that the partnership would also equip the carrier with the strategy of achieving how to build a hub for the southern part of Central Africa, remarking that since the former regional carrier, Air Afrique collapsed, there had been no direct air link between Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. He further explained that the best model for building stronger airlines in Africa was through partnership among carriers, insisting that the visit to Arik Air has afforded the officials the window to obtain first-hand experience of running a service oriented airline.
Arik Air has announced various partnerships with West African countries – Leone Airways and Ghana Airways – over the past years, but none of the projects actually materialised, apart from the short-lived Arik Niger.
The Federal Government also appears to be restrictive in allowing other West African carriers to operate into Lagos or Abuja Airport. In recent years, now defunct Air Ivoire and Senegal Airlines were unsuccessful in obtaining landing rights, while Fly540 Ghana, Gambia Bird and Westair Bénin are still awaiting permission to start flights to Nigeria.