Arik Air is relishing the opportunity offered it by the Federal Government to fly Nigeria’s senior national soccer team, the Super Eagles to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.
Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial airline is relishing the opportunity offered it by the Federal Government to fly Nigeria’s senior national soccer team, the Super Eagles to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. The airline said it was an occasion to showcase its world class product and service.
Arik Air came to the rescue of the stranded Super Eagles on Tuesday night by flying the players and officials direct from London to Durban, South Africa, venue of their 2010 World Cup group matches.
The team, earlier scheduled to depart London on Monday, April 31 was stranded as the foreign carrier chartered to airlift them had a problem and the Federal Government early Tuesday morning contacted the management of Arik Air to come to the team’s rescue. The Nigerian flag carrier immediately dispatched an Airbus A340-500 aircraft to London to fly the Eagles non-stop from London to Durban.
The technologically-advanced Arik Air A340-500 ultra-range aircraft sent on the rescue mission subsequently departed London Heathrow Terminal Four at 21:58pm (GMT) on Tuesday with the players and officials of the Super Eagles and touched down at Durban, South Africa at 08:45am (GMT) on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.
Arik Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Suraj Sundaram commented: “Arik Air is a truly Nigerian carrier always ready to render services for the good of the country. As a Nigerian flag carrier, the best we can do at times like this is to ensure that the integrity of the country as a sovereign nation is not compromised. We are extremely proud and privileged to be called upon to fly the Super Eagles to South Africa after they were disappointed by the foreign carrier.
“As a wholly owned Nigerian airline with the capability of flying to anywhere in the world, Arik Air accepted the challenge of flying the team to South Africa in less than 24 hours notice to demonstrate our operational and technical excellence as a world class airline.”
Mr. Sundaram, on behalf of the board, management and staff of Arik Air wished the Super Eagles the very best of success in the World Cup as they prepare to meet Argentina in their first group match on June 12, 2010. “We look forward to bringing the team back home with the World Cup at the end of the competition.”
Arik Air has rendered such services to Nigerian teams in the past. It will be recalled that the airline carried the Super Eagles to Tunis for their all-important qualifying match against Tunisia last year. The airline was also the official carrier for the last FIFA Under-17 World Cup held in Nigeria in October 2009.
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 21 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 130 flights daily from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja.