Nigeria’s foremost commercial airline, Arik Air, has added yet another feather to its cap with the presentation of the United States International Partner Award.
The award was presented to Arik Air during a ceremony organised by the United States Commercial Service at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos on September 8, 2008.
The Commercial Counselor of the United States Embassy, Mr. Larry Farris, said the awards are for companies that have demonstrated special creativity, resourcefulness and hard work in improving trade between Nigeria and the United States of America.
He stressed that the United States will continue to see Nigeria as a strategic partner in development and growth of both countries economy and that the embassy will continue to recognise the contributions of Nigerian companies to the U.S. economy regularly.
The General Manager, Finance, Arik Air, Mr. Chris Ndulue, who received the award promised that the airline will not relent in its efforts at promoting improved trade relations between Nigeria and United States.
According to him, Arik Air is the biggest customer of the U.S. aircraft manufacturing giant, Boeing Corporation in Nigeria with eight Boeing aircraft currently in its fleet and an additional 33 scheduled to be delivered between now and 2014.
Arik Air’s investment of $138 million (about N16.3 billion) in the purchase of three Boeing aircraft and parts in the last 12 months was enough to win the airline the award.
It will be recalled that Arik Air was in Seattle, U.S. last May to take delivery of two brand new Boeing 737-700NG aircraft, the sixth of such within one year. Also, the airline has negotiated aircraft financing facilities worth over N35 billion to acquire five Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and this was concluded at a signing ceremony with a consortium of national and regional banks on July 29, 2008.
Arik Air has been given approval to commence direct flights to U.S. and this service is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2009.