Arik Air, West and Central Africa’s largest commercial airline, has achieved yet another milestone in Nigerian aviation, operating the first Nigerian registered commercial aircraft to the United States of America in two decades.
On Monday night the airline operated its scheduled Lagos-New York flight using an A330-200 aircraft with registration 5N-JID. The feat by Arik Air is made more outstanding given that the operation of the flight was staffed by Nigerian crew.
The airline’s latest milestone was the result of almost three years preparation, during which time the airline received the Part 129 approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and was also awarded the Extended Range Twin Operations (ETOPS) approval.
Arik Air commenced direct flight operations from Lagos to New York in November 2009 using its foreign registered A340-500 aircraft operated by Hi-fly of Portugal and it was the first direct flight between Nigeria and the United States to be operated by a Nigerian airline in the last decade.
With the ETOPS approval, Arik Air has the flexibility of interchanging between its two variant of wide body aircraft for the Lagos-New York services. The airline has two A340-500 and two A330-200 aircraft in its fleet of 26 aircraft.
Speaking on the development, Arik Air Senior Vice President Operations/Deputy Managing Director, Captain Ado Sanusi said the feat is a major achievement not only for Arik Air but for Nigerian aviation in general.
“Arik Air is proud of this achievement and appreciates the support from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), US FAA and all other stakeholders in the industry,” Captain Ado added.
Arik Air has scored a number of firsts in its seven years of operation. It is the first airline in Nigeria to operate new aircraft in almost two decades, as well as the first to operate the A340-500 and new CRJ1000 aircraft in Africa.