Arik Air is a privately and wholly Nigerian owned commercial airline with a commitment to the people of Nigeria to deliver new standards in aviation.
In 2002, with Nigeria Airways in liquidation, Arik Air’s Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (KSG, CON), decided to buy a Hawker jet aircraft. Colleagues and contacts in the gas and oil industry started using the Hawker jet to fly themselves around Nigeria. So, another jet was acquired and before long, a corporate jet business was launched. The next step was to find the right people and the right aircraft to build an airline that would set new standards and change the face of aviation in Africa. Arik Air was born - an airline with whom “Nigeria and the rest of Africa would be proud to fly”.
In April 2006, Arik Air took occupation of some of the former Nigeria Airways facilities in Lagos and major reconstruction work began immediately. Arik Air also took delivery of three brand new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft making the airline the first CRJ900 operator on the African continent and the first airline to introduce new commercial aircraft into Nigeria for over 20 years.
In October 2006, seven months after taking occupation of some of the old Nigeria Airways’ premises and transforming it to a state-of-the-art facility, Arik Air was inaugurated, opening its doors to the travelling public on 30 October 2006.
Additional brand new aircraft have joined the growing fleet which now stands at 28 aircraft, making it the largest airline in Nigeria and West Africa. By the end of 2012, Arik Air had successfully flown over 10 million passengers in under six years of operation across a network of 41 domestic and international routes. It operates an average of 120 flights daily from its two hubs at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.
In April 2007, Arik Air International Ltd was established in London by Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide. Set up to develop the worldwide routes and deliver a truly global airline with world class standards, Arik Air International acts as the overseas corporate office of Arik Air.
On 15 December 2008, Arik Air successfully launched its first long-haul flight between Lagos and London Heathrow, flying daily with a newly acquired Airbus A340-500, offering the highest degree of operational flexibility and unmatched passenger comfort. The aircraft offers 36 Premier Class and 201 Economy Class seats. Premier Class passengers enjoy ‘super flat’ beds equipped with 17 inch monitors and a new generation in-built massage system. It also has a communal area which comprises a bar lounge, sofas and a seat-free space for socialising.
In June 2009, Arik Air commenced operations to its second long haul destination - Johannesburg, South Africa - as well as flights to several destinations in the West African region; linking Lagos to Sierra Leone, Senegal, The Gambia as well as Benin and Ghana. November 2009 saw the launch of Arik Air’s latest international destination - New York, operating non-stop flights three times a week, between New York (JFK) and Lagos. The route is served by Arik’s flagship A340-500 aircraft, operated by partner Hi FlyTransportesAeros S.A. of Portugal. In addition, Arik launched non-stop services between the capital cities of London and Abuja from its new home at the renovated London Heathrow Terminal 4.
In 2011 Arik became a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) having successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) the previous year. Towards the end of the year, Arik commenced direct flights to its first international destinations in over one year connecting Cotonou (Benin), Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) with Lagos. One week later it became the first Nigerian airline to fly non-stop between Lagos and Luanda (Angola).
In 2012, Arik launched its second foray into Central Africa, connecting Lagos to Douala (Cameroon.) In Oct, Arik won the Best Security & Safety Conscious Airline 2012 award for the second consecutive year. In December 2012, Arik launched its third destination in Central Africa, extending its Douala flights to connect Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2013 Arik Air introduced a new mobile booking service and launched its first mobile app to further boost its passenger experience.
2014 saw the launch of Arik new frequent flyer programme, Arik Affinity Wings. The programme is packed full of benefits designed to reward guests for their loyalty by giving them the opportunity to earn miles on domestic, regional and long-haul flights.
Arik Air operated the first Nigerian registered commercial aircraft to the United States of America and was first African carrier to operate the Bombardier CRJ1000 NextGen regional jet in Africa.
In order to further develop and expand our commercial relationship with Emirates, Arik signed a MoU with Emirates in August 2014, with the goal of providing customers seamless connectivity on each other’s respective route network. This will give Arik a substantially larger global footprint, particularly to the Far East and Indian sub-continent.
‘Arik Explorer’ (www.arikexplorer.com) launched in Lagos in December 2014, as a subsidiary of Arik Air, offers travel package at two levels: ‘Premium’ and ‘Affordable’. The offering will be for both outbound and inbound travel from Lagos and other destinations serviced by Arik Air. This new venture will allow us to provide enjoyable quality excursions, hotels and activities, establishing a market presence in an exciting new sector for us.
Over the last two years, we have continued to develop our West African expansion with the addition of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire and Libreville, Gabon to our network.
2016 marks Arik Air’s 10th year of operation. As the largest airline in West and Central Africa, our mission is to improve connectivity in the region and facilitate the movement of passengers seamlessly across our expanding network.