Arik Air celebrates its third anniversary on 30 October 2009.
Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading commercial airline celebrates its third anniversary on 30 October 2009. On 30 October 2006, the airline first took to the skies with the launch of scheduled passenger flights between Nigeria’s commercial hub Lagos and the country’s Federal Capital, Abuja.
From a humble beginning operating three brand new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft, Arik Air has scored a number of operational firsts in its short history. With the introduction of the CRJ900 aircraft three years ago, Arik Air became the first airline in Nigeria to operate a brand new aircraft in over 20 years and was the launch airline in Nigeria for this type. It 2008 it became the first airline in Africa to operate the widebody Airbus A340-500 aircraft, which the airline now operates to connect Lagos with London Heathrow and Johannesburg daily. On 23 October 2009, Arik Air announced the introduction of the Bombardier Q400 aircraft, the first Nigerian airline to do so.
Three years since launching commercial operations, Arik Air’s achievement is formidable and in terms of performance, the actual week of the airline’s third anniversary has itself been record-breaking. The airline’s Managing Director, Mr Jason Holt elaborated: “Since beginning operations three years ago on 30 October, 2006, Arik Air has carried more than 3.5 million guests on board 51,000 scheduled flights. The past week has been our most successful ever, when we carried more than 44,000 guests. The airline now operates 124 flights daily from two hubs, Lagos and Abuja, and serves 21 Nigerian airports. Arik Air is the success story of Nigerian aviation.”
Commenting on reasons for Arik Air’s success during the past three years, Mr Holt explained that a number of different yet equally important factors have contributed. He explained: “A key reason is the airline’s extensive network of services and high level of frequency on routes within the ‘golden triangle’ - Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Within Nigeria, Arik Air serves 19 other airports from Lagos and Abuja. The airline serves five regional destinations - Accra (Ghana), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), Dakar (Senegal) and Freetown (Sierra Leone). Internationally, Arik Air serves London Heathrow and Johannesburg daily from Lagos. Our guests, especially those who travel frequently, value the access we provide within the home market, regionally and two of the most important international markets for Nigerians, the UK and South Africa.”
Another key factor that features highly among Arik Air guests’ reasons for choosing the airline is its focus on maintaining a safe, secure and reliable operation. According to the Managing Director, this is a critical area for the continued success of the airline and one where there can be no complacency. Mr Holt continued: “To help achieve and maintain this position, Arik Air has partnered with some of the world’s most experienced and technically competent aircraft maintenance providers including Lufthansa Technik for our Boeing 737 fleet and Lufthansa Cityline for our Bombardier CRJ fleet. To reinforce further our operational strength and reliability, the airline has invested heavily in its operations infrastructure. The Operations Control Centre (OCC) at the Arik Air Aviation Centre in Lagos, where a team of highly trained professionals tracks the movement of our fleet round the clock, is the most technologically advanced in Africa. Resulting from our constant focus in each of these key areas, by standard industry benchmarks the airline has achieved an operations reliability factor of more than 98%, of which we are extremely proud.”
From the time the airline was being planned in 2006, Arik Air was committed to offering its Nigerian guests a world-class travel experience, exceeding the quality of service offered by many airlines in the developed economies. During the past three years, Arik Air’s management and staff have worked diligently to adhere to that early customer-centric business philosophy. The airline continues to place considerable emphasis on this aspect of its operation, an investment that helps the airline win many loyal guests. “When they fly with us, our guests enjoy World Class on-board service, especially on our new Airbus A340-500 fleet that offers lie-flat beds in Premier Class, the most spacious seat in Economy Class and an exceptional choice of personal TV and entertainment options,” said Mr Holt.
The airline’s Managing Director emphasized that Arik Air is first and foremost a Nigerian airline and that in achieving past and future success, the contribution of the airline’s Nigerian workforce cannot be overlooked. Mr Holt explained: “Not only is Arik Air the largest airline in Nigeria it is also a Nigerian airline and therefore employing and investing in a Nigerian workforce have remained two of our highest corporate priorities. The airline currently employs a workforce of more than 1,500 Nigerians, including 70 Captains and First Officers and 220 Cabin Crew. As the airline expands, these levels are set to rise further. In 2006, the year of the airline’s launch, Arik Air instituted a scholarship program aimed at training Nigerian graduates to become pilots, resulting in an initial N16 million investment by the airline. To date, 15 Nigerian cadets have progressed through the program. Similarly, 40 new Nigerian Cabin Crew are also going through the multiple phases of their training programs in readiness for the next phases of the airline’s expansion. Throughout the past three years, investment in our Nigerian workforce has been an integral part of Arik Air’s business ethos. That is set to continue.”
Arik Air’ Managing Director said that the milestones of the airline’s past three years speak volumes about the investment, experience and skill that have driven the airline to the position it occupies today - Nigeria’s most important commercial airline, West Africa’s largest and one of Africa’s fastest growing. Mr Holt continued: “Focusing on the future, the airline has a strong and aggressive network expansion strategy and to support that plan, the airline has placed orders for more than 20 new aircraft including five new Boeing 777-300ERs and 15 Boeing 737-800s. The airline is also set to continue developing its regional and international networks. Later this year, Arik Air will launch the first non-stop flight in a decade between Lagos and New York, re-connecting Nigeria’s commercial hub with one of the world’s foremost centres for international business. This will be a historic day for Nigerian Aviation brought about by Arik Air, a Nigerian airline. Building on the success of the past three years, Arik Air’s new service to New York will set the tone for the scale of its ambitions for the next two years.”
Special third anniversary promotion
To allow guests throughout Nigeria to share in the airline’s third anniversary celebration, on Friday 30 October 2009 only, all Arik Air guests would have the option to celebrate with a special one-day fare promotion.
On Friday 30 October 2009 only, Arik Air will discount its normal one-way ticket prices by N3,000 for flights within Nigeria. This special third anniversary offer will be valid for travel on the airline’s domestic flights and tickets must be booked and paid for on the airline’s anniversary date, Friday 30 October 2009.
To ensure guests can enjoy the benefit of the special anniversary offer well into the future, the airline will not impose a restriction on the actual travel date as long as the tickets are booked and paid for on Friday 30 October 2009.
Commenting on the offer, Arik Air’s Managing Director Mr Jason Holt, explained that the airline’s third anniversary is a momentous occasion, an important milestone in its development and one in which the airline’s guests in Nigeria deserved to share.
Mr Holt said: “Three years ago, Arik Air set out to become a Nigerian airline that Nigerians would be proud to fly. Now, as Arik Air approaches its third anniversary, not only does the airline connect Nigeria with five West African countries and serve London Heathrow and Johannesburg daily from Lagos, it also connects 21 destinations within Nigeria - a domestic network that no other airline can match. It is there appropriate that all guests in Nigerian should have the option to avail of this special one-day offer for travel across the nation.”
Mr Holt reminded guests that the offer will only be available only on Friday 30 October, 2009 and that tickets must be paid for during that 24-hour period, either via the airline’s website www.arikair.com or through the airline’s offices across the country and the tickets would be non-refundable.
Arik Air is Nigeria’s leading commercial airline. It operates a fleet of 29 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 will soon commence non-stop flights between Lagos and New York (JFK) and between Abuja and London (Heathrow).
The airline currently operates 124 daily flights from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja.
It employs a workforce of more than 1,800.