Ministers from African countries who were at the AGOA forum met with Arik Air management on the need to open flight services to their respective nations.
Arik Air’s rising profile in the African aviation sector has been acknowledged at the 8th African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum held in Washington, DC, United States of America on August 2-3, 2010. The airline’s Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide was invited to the forum to speak on ‘Facilitating Trade through Investment and Infrastructure’.
The annual U.S.–Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum — better known as the AGOA Forum — opened August 2 in Washington with U.S. and African officials pledging on the 10th anniversary of the AGOA to make the U.S. trade preference program work even better to stimulate economic growth and development on both sides of the Atlantic.
U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Amos Muhinga Kimunya, Kenya’s Minister of Trade, both addressed the opening session. Also on the dais were Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Fitzgerald.
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide’s presentation showcased the achievements of Arik Air as a model for all of Africa and its strides at making Nigeria a hub for travel to Africa; the current and planned fleet acquisition (new orders from Boeing and Airbus), route structure, unique training program, first class maintenance support from Lufthansa Technik, plan to build a first class maintenance facility in Africa, OCC, and recent AOC recertification by Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as part of efforts at attaining United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Cat 1 were highlighted at the forum.
The commitment that Arik Air has made to facilitate trade between Africa and U.S. was widely acknowledged at the forum leading to the airline being recognized as the aviation leader in the transport sector in West and Central Africa.
The President of United States’ Export-Import (EXIM) Bank, Mr. Fred Hochberg, who was also at the forum acknowledged Arik Air’s contributions to the growth of aviation in Africa and trade relations with the U.S.
Arik Air has significant trade major with U.S. companies. For example, the airline, which is the largest operator of Boeing aircraft in the region, has invested over $4.57 billion in Boeing aircraft acquisition (including orders); done $220 million worth of transactions with US EXIM Bank; purchased about $1 million explosive and narcotic trace devices from General Electric (GE); $3 million screening machines from Rapiscan; among others.
Ministers from African countries who were at the AGOA forum met with Arik Air management on the need to open flight services to their respective nations. Arik Air currently operates flight services to seven African countries- Cotonou (Benin), Accra (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Banjul (Gambia), Dakar (Senegal) and Monrovia (Liberia).
Speaking on the benefits of the forum, Arik Air Deputy Executive Vice President, Mr. Chris Ndulue said: “The 8th AGOA Forum gave us the opportunity as an airline to address the world and brand Arik Air as the preferred airline for business travellers and African Diaspora community of America”.
Arik Air is Nigeria’s leading commercial airline. It now operates a fleet of 26 state-of-the art regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft. The airline currently serves 22 airports across Nigeria as well as Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar (Senegal), Freetown (Sierra Leone), London Heathrow (UK), Johannesburg (South Africa) and New York JFK (USA).
The airline currently operates over 120 flights daily from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja.