Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) will spread its wings again on July 28 when it launches a new route from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new extension will be operated five days a week with its Airbus A330-200s.
Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Airbus A330-223 EI-EWH became 5N-JIC (msn 891) with Arik Air.
Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) has expanded its international fleet with the acquisition of a new A330-200 twin-engine aircraft. The new aircraft will fly its long-haul routes, which includes London Heathrow, New York John F Kennedy and Johannesburg Oliver Tambo Airports.
The introduction of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft to the Arik Air fleet, is the first of its kind to be added to the airline, and will increase the current fleet to 24 aircraft, with a further 24 aircraft on order.
Arik Air is West and Central Africa’s largest airline, and operates mainly from two hubs at Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. The airline operates a fleet of regional, medium haul and long haul aircraft including two Airbus A340-500 making the airline the first operator of this particular type of wide-bodied aircraft in Africa. The airline currently serves 20 destinations in Nigeria and flies to 11 international destinations including London Heathrow (UK) and New York JFK (USA). The airline operates a combined number of over 120 daily flights from its hubs, and has been Africa’s fastest growing airline for the last two years.
Video: Former Kingfisher Airlines Airbus A330-223 EI-EWH (msn 891, ex VT-VJL) roars into the sky from Dublin. The wide body airliner became 5N-JIC named “Joseph of the Holy Family” when it was delivered on July 9, 2013.
Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) yesterday (September 23) according to Bloomberg Businessweek resumed domestic operations after a dispute was resolved with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria union. The union had blocked aircraft gates on September 20 at Lagos due to unpaid bills. International flights to west Africa, London, New York and Johannesburg were not impacted.
Copyright Photo: Malcolm Nason. Formerly operated by Kingfisher Airlines as VT-VJL, Airbus A330-223 EI-EWH (msn 891) is seen departing from Dublin after repainting. Leased from Pembroke, the wide body airliner will become 5N-JIC on delivery. The aircraft is named “Joseph of the Holy Family”.
Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) will suspend the Abuja-London (Heathrow) route on March 25. The Lagos-London (Heathrow) route will continue.
The company issued the following statement:
“Arik was compelled to suspend its services on the route following the inability of the UK and Nigeria governments to come to agreeable terms on the 2008 Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA). Under the terms of the BASA Arik was allocated seven (7) frequencies per week in respect of the Lagos/ London, Heathrow service and seven (7) per week for the Abuja/ London, Heathrow service. The total of 14 frequencies is out of 21 available for Nigerian carriers under the BASA.
However, an anomaly exists between access to slots in the respective countries with the Nigerian government matching the allocation of slots with frequencies therefore giving UK carriers unfettered access to its full complement of 21 slots at Abuja and Lagos airports. However, this is not reciprocated in the UK with the authorities drawing a distinction between allocation of frequencies and access to slots, claiming that an application for landing slots at UK airports is a process separate from the BASA entitlement.
From the inception of the route in November 2009, Arik has been in a slot-lease agreement with a UK carrier, leasing arrival/ departure slots on the Abuja/ London route at Heathrow. At the end of the summer schedule (October 2011), the UK carrier that Arik was in the slot-lease agreement with for this route advised the airline of its intention to sell the company and began to wind down its contractual arrangements with Arik Air. Without these commercially arranged slots Arik Air was forced to suspend operations at the start of the winter schedule (2011).
Immediate discussions were held by the respective governments to resolve the long-existing and underlying anomaly in the BASA. As an abridgement, the UK authorities facilitated the temporary continuation of the commercial lease of these slots in support of Arik Air’s Abuja/ London, Heathrow operation. This interim solution was only available up until 25th March (2012). Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of both governments, there has been no solution found. The situation remains as it was at the end of October 2011 with Arik Air having no landing/arrival slots after March 2012 thus forcing it to suspend the route.”
Arik Air (Arik Wings of Nigeria) (Lagos) on November 29 will launch a new route connecting Lagos with Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The route will be operated with Airbus A340-500s, three times a week.