Arik Targets 20m-Passenger Mark By Next Month | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Arik Targets 20m-Passenger Mark By Next Month

Posted: Nov 7, 2016 at 3:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Economic recession notwithstanding, Arik Air has disclosed of growth in its operations and patronage, with 20 million-passenger mark already set for December 2016.

Arik Air, one of the leading airline in Nigeria, West and Central African region, said it had in the last one decade of operations airlifted 19.5 million passengers in total.

Commemorating the 10th year anniversary in Lagos recently, the airline said notwithstanding the tough business setting in the country, Arik continued to record giant strides with plans to expand connectivity to Asia, Latin America and Middle East.

The Managing Director of the Airline, Chris Ndulue, said the phenomenal growth of the airline was due to its business model, which is based on modern equipment and new technology; high standards of maintenance and connectivity amidst pressing economic challenges.

It would be recalled that Arik has had its share of crisis in the sector, especially in the last one year. Besides claims of indebtedness to regulatory authorities and attendant picketing, the airline has also had issues with aviation fuel shortage and aircraft insurance among others that affected its operations at home and abroad.

Ndulue reckoned that the economy remains very challenging to all and Arik is not left out.

According to him: “The challenge is very pronounced in aviation today because of the dependence on foreign exchange (forex) to do maintenance, spare parts and fuel among others. Continuous rise in forex has continued to make things difficult for aviation fuel, which is imported. While price of crude oil has continued to go down, aviation fuel is rising in Nigeria.

“Aviation fuel is one area we belief government should look into to assist the airlines. The difficulties are real and remains a threat to the airline industry,” he said.

Nevertheless, the MD said that the airline has recorded giant strides since it began operations with new Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft on October 30, 2006.

Since then, Ndulue said, Arik Air has led the resurgence of Nigerian civil aviation and is doing so by committing to being a quality airline operating to international safety and operational standards using new aircraft with modern technology and having high maintenance, safety and quality standards.

“Ten years on, Arik Air has delivered on its promises of operating the youngest fleet in West Africa with an average hull age of 7.8 years; creating employment opportunities; and partnering with top maintenance providers such as Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Cityline and Samco Engineering under full ‘turn-key’ maintenance service contracts from inception to date.

“Arik Air is now the market leader and the largest carrier in the region in terms of number of aircraft (28), capacity developed, network and number of flights operated, having safely transported over 19 million passengers.”

From three scheduled flights between Lagos and Abuja in 2006, the airline now operates an average of 110 daily flights across a network of 18 domestic, 10 regional and three international destinations including Johannesburg (South Africa), London Heathrow (UK) and New York JFK (USA).

Ndulue said further that the airline’s adherence to high operational and quality standards is evident in its achieving the stringent IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) four consecutive times with the last two audits cleared successfully with no findings.

“This achievement has also earned Arik Air, Enhanced IATA Operational Safety Audit (EIOSA) making it the only airline in the region to have such certification.

“In the coming years, we hope to maintain our market leadership and our growth strategy involves substantially increasing our fleet from 28 aircraft today to 52 aircraft by 2025. On route development, we are also looking at starting new routes and we will update our customers with details in the New Year.”