Arik Air, West Africa’s largest carrier, today re-enforced its expansion plans of its regional West African services with the announcement of the commencement of scheduled flights between Lagos and three new destinations via Dakar (Senegal) - Cotonou (Benin), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) and Bamako (Mali). The new service, Arik’s “Savannah Express”, will be re-launched on 6 December 2011 and operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The originating flight will depart Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos at 6:00pm (local time) and arrive at Cotonou at 6:30pm (local time). The flight will continue on to Ouagadougou, departing Cotonou at 7:00pm (local time) and arrive in Ouagadougou at 7:30pm (local time). It will then connect through to Bamako, departing Ouagadougou at 8:15pm (local time) arriving at 9:40pm (local time). The flight will then depart Bamako at 10:10pm (local time) and terminate in Dakar at 12 midnight.
The inbound flight will depart Dakar at 00:45am (local time next day) and arrives in Bamako at 2:35am (local time). The flight continues to Ouagadougou, leaving Bamako at 3:05am (local time) and arriving in Ouagadougou at 4:30am (local time). The flight thereafter leaves Ouagadougou at 5:15am (local time) and arrives in Cotonou at 7:45am (local time). The flight then departs Cotonou at 8:15am (local time) and terminates in Lagos at 8:45am (local time).
The Savannah Express route will be served with a state-of-the-art Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft. The CRJ900 is configured to seat 10 passengers in the Business Class and 64 in Economy.
Arik Air’s Group Chief Executive Officer/ President, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide said of the new route:
“The commencement of services between Lagos and the cities of Cotonou, Ouagadougou, Bamako and Dakar is significant because it marks the end to years of limited air links between Nigeria and the respective countries. The inauguration is coming at a time when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is seeking closer relations among countries in the region. Arik Air’s new services will help Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Mali to foster even stronger economic ties and cement economic relations.
“Arik Air is better positioned than any other West African airline to provide an extensive range of connections from Cotonou, Ouagadougou and Bamako via Lagos. From Lagos, Arik Air offers connections to 21 domestic destinations as well as daily non-stop services to London Heathrow and Johannesburg, and three times weekly to New York JFK, providing greater choice and a convenient, accessible network to our West Coast customers.”
The new destinations in the West Coast will be adding to the airline’s existing five to Accra (Ghana), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Banjul (Gambia), Dakar (Senegal) and Monrovia (Liberia), bringing its total international network coverage to 11 destinations with eight regional points now connected to the hubs in Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.