Nigeria’s leading domestic carrier, Arik Air has received invitations from the governments of Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon and Senegal to operate flights from Lagos to their nation states, as well as within their sovereign territories.
The airline has also received the necessary approvals from the civil aviation authorities of the respective nations.
These facts were disclosed by the chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Johnson, in Seattle, USA on the occasion of taking delivery of two new Boeing 737-700NG aircraft and signing ceremony for purchase of narrow body aircraft from Boeing Incorporation on May 19, 2008.
According to Sir Arumemi-Johnson, the invitations from the West African nations were indeed a testament to Arik Air’s achievements in Nigeria where it has in less than two years of operations took over as the biggest airline in the country providing safe and reliable air transportation for the populace.
He used the occasion to announce the commencement of operations in Niger Republic on July 1, with Sierra Leone due to follow soon afterwards. The airline has been granted a national carrier status in the West African state of Niger Republic.
It is expected that Arik Air will take further deliveries of two brand new Boeing 737-700NG and another two brand new Boeing 737-800 series by the fourth quarter of this year.
With the introduction of these revolutionary 737-700NG aircraft, Arik Air chairman appealed to Boeing to work with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in order to bring their systems and knowledge base up to date, while also imploring the corporation to assist in providing training to the NCAA’s Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Zaria.
As a consequence of aircraft shortages resulting from Arik’s expanding domestic network and sublime operating performance, the airline also announced and signed an agreement with Boeing to bring forward the delivery date of seven optional 737-700 aircraft from 2013 to 2009.
The Seattle ceremony also witnessed the historic signing of an agreement for the acquisition of three super jumbo B747-800 into the Arik fleet. This makes Arik Air the first airline in Africa to place order for the yet-to-be manufactured aircraft which is expected to enter into service in 2014.
Sir Arumemi-Johnson disclosed that with the latest order and acquisition, Arik now transverses the entire spectrum of fleet and sector segments offered by Boeing: from the narrow-body short haul fleet (737-700NG) to the intermediate twin-aisle long-haul (787-9), to the wide-body long-haul fleet (777) and the “big bird’ long-haul fleet (747-8).