Airline launches Lagos-New York (JFK) services.

Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial airline, today announced the expansion of its international services with the launch of non-stop flights between Lagos and New York (JFK) beginning on Sunday, 29 November 2009. The new route will be Arik Air’s third international service outside of the West Africa region, following the commencement of daily flights to London Heathrow in December 2008 and to Johannesburg, South Africa, in June 2009.
 
The new Lagos - New York (JFK) service* will operate three times a week with outbound flights departing Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, while inbound flights will depart New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (Terminal 4) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
 
In announcing the new international service, Arik Air’s Managing Director, Mr Jason Holt said: “Arik Air’s new non-stop flights between Lagos and New York will be the airline’s first transatlantic service. They will also be the first direct flights between Nigeria and the United States to be operated by a Nigerian airline in the last decade. This is of great historical significance for Nigeria and a source of great pride for Arik Air.”
 
The airline’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr Suraj Sundaram elaborated: “The inauguration of Arik Air’s non-stop services between Lagos and New York will meet the needs of businesses in Nigeria’s commercial hub, Lagos, who are actively seeking air links with New York, the most important commercial centre in the world’s largest economy.
 
As the first Nigerian airline in over a decade to connect the two countries’ respective financial centres, Arik Air is extremely proud to take the lead in fulfilling this strategic role. The benefits to guests of Arik Air’s new non-stop services are many and two of the most important centre on the opportunity to save travel time and reduce costs. By flying with Arik Air direct to New York, guests will no longer need to incur the cost of transit visa fees and other ticket taxes associated with flying via Europe. They will also be able to save a considerable amount of time on this non-stop service, equivalent to almost two full business days over the course of a return trip via Europe.”
 
Arik Air has scheduled its flights conveniently for guests travelling from both ends of the new route. Flights from Lagos on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday will depart Lagos at 11.20pm (local time) and arrive New York JFK (Terminal 4) at 5.50am (local time) the following morning. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Arik Air’s flights will depart New York JFK at 10.00pm (local time) and arrive Lagos at 2.40pm (local time) the next afternoon.
 
Mr Sundaram added that Arik Air’s Lagos timings would provide the airline’s guests with the option to connect to and from Nigerian domestic as well as Regional African points. “From Lagos, Arik Air serves 20 other destinations across Nigeria including Abuja and Port Harcourt. The airline also serves five West African cities including Accra (Ghana) and Freetown (Sierra Leone). The reach of our extensive Nigerian and West African networks means Arik Air can offer our transatlantic guests convenient local and regional connections that no other airline can match,” he emphasised.
 
The airline will operate a brand new Airbus A340-500 long-range aircraft on the new service. Ideally suited for flying transatlantic routes, the four-engine, wide body airbus is one of the quietest and most environmentally friendly aircraft operating in the world today. It complies fully with airport noise restrictions and with current and future international emissions standards.
 
Mr Sundaram explained that the Premier Class cabin of Arik Air’s new Airbus 340-500 provides guests with 36 spacious seats that convert into fully lie-flat beds. It also has a private bar and lounge area for Premier Class passengers to socialize and relax. He explained: “On long haul international routes we recognise that our guests seek comfort and personal space complimented by warm Nigerian hospitality. The individual seat pitch in Arik Air’s Premier Class cabin is 76 inches, which will make it the most spacious seat in any commercial aircraft flying between Nigeria and the US. Each of the 201 extra wide seats in the Economy Class cabin also provides 50% more leg room. Our on-board experience will ensure we lead in terms of convenience and comfort for transatlantic travel to and from Nigeria. Both Arik Air’s Premier Class and Economy Class products offer personal audio and video-on-demand entertainment including a choice of Hollywood and Nollywood movies.”
 
Arik Air is Nigeria’s leading commercial airline. It operates a fleet of 30 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft. The airline currently serves 21 airports across Nigeria as well as Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar (Senegal), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Niamey (Niger), London Heathrow (UK) and Johannesburg (South Africa).
 
The airline currently operates 124 flights daily from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja.
 
It employs a workforce of more than 1,800.