Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading commercial airline, is today celebrating its third anniversary, and the airline has much to celebrate, having experienced incredible growth and success since it commenced scheduled operations on October 30, 2006.
Three years ago, Arik Air’s chairman and founder, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, set out to change the face of the aviation industry in Africa. Frustrated by unreliable services and constant delays, Sir Joseph knew that something had to be done and that Nigeria needed an airline, which Nigerians would be proud to fly.
His vision was realized sooner than even he anticipated. During the course of the past three years, Arik Air has brought a world-class airline to Nigeria and, as it continues to launch new international routes, it is not only allowing business travelers to travel to the country in a comfort and style that was not previously possible, but it is also making Nigeria and the west African region more accessible.
With this goal in mind, intercontinental routes continue to feature heavily in the airline¹s expansion plans. In December 2008, Arik launched its first international route to London, Heathrow, and its second to Johannesburg in June 2009. Both routes are serviced by brand-new Airbus A340-500 aircraft, fitted with the very best in in-flight comfort and style, including “super flat” beds and on-board bar and lounge facility. Arik’s third international route, New York, is set to launch soon, and the airline has secured traffic rights to many other international destinations, including Houston, Paris, Dubai, and Sao Paulo.
In addition, by June this year, Arik Air had launched flights between Lagos and Freetown (Sierra Leone), Banjul (Gambia), Cotonou (Benin), and Dakar (Senegal), ending years of limited air access between the four cities. West African destinations are planned, including Douala, Malabo, Luanda, and many other previously unconnected routes.
From three brand-new aircraft at inception in October 2006, Arik has grown its fleet to 29 new aircraft, with additional deliveries of new aircraft expected throughout 2010. The airline currently operates over 120 flights daily from its hubs in Lagos and Abuja and employs a workforce of more than 1,700.
As part of Arik’s goal to make the airline a model not only in Nigeria but throughout Africa, a new state-of-the-art Operations Control Centre
(OCC) at the airline’s Lagos head office was completed, making Arik Air only the second airline in the world, and the only airline in Africa, to have this kind of facility.
Commenting on the anniversary, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, CEO of Arik Air International, said: “As we celebrate our third anniversary, we can look back at our achievements over the last three years and take pride in the hard work that has led to the success we are experiencing.
“At Arik Air, we have an incredible team of experienced industry professionals who strive to continually exceed expectations and uphold Arik Air’s world-class credentials which, when combined with our competitive prices, have allowed us to take on the major players on this route.
“I believe that there is a very exciting time ahead for Arik Air. Over the coming years, we aim to not only be the dominant airline on the African continent, but also a model and benchmark for other airlines in the world as we strive to lead the way in customer service, choice and value.”