A Nigerian private airline, Arik Air, on Monday said it had carried eight million local and international passengers in its 44 routes in the last five years when it commenced operations.
Arik Air Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, said this while presenting the airline’s stewardship at its headquarters in Lagos.
He expressed appreciations to the Federal Government, Nigerians and its passengers for their patronage and support over the years.
Ndulue promised that the airline would continue to serve them better with its fleet of aircraft as it is poised to be a carrier of international standard.
He said the airline had provided job opportunities for about 2,000 persons through its 120 daily flights connecting Lagos with Abuja and other state capitals.
With its control of 40 per cent of the domestic passengers in Nigeria, Arik Air has earned the position of a true Nigerian carrier, Ndulue boasted.
“We also fly to Cotonou (Benin), Accra (Ghana), Monrovia (Liberia), Freetown (Sierra Leone), Banjul (Gambia), Dakar (Senegal), Johannesburg (Soujth Africa), Heathrow in the UK and John F. Kennedy Airport in New York , US.
“Also with our acquisition of brand new aircraft for the safety of our passengers and operations, we have boosted economic activities in Nigeria and contributed to the growth of the aviation sector in the country,” he said.
Ndulue said that the airline currently had 23 aircraft in its fleet; would open new routes from Lagos–Bamako, Lagos-Ouagadougou, Lagos-Luanda and Lagos-Abu-Dhabi as part of its expansion programmes .
“These routes are underserved by other airlines and if we do not explore them , there is no way we can develop our region,’’ he explained.
Also, he said that Arik Air was planning to join the international airline-alliance whereby it would be involved in inter-airliner connectivity of passengers.
“Through it , passengers flying international routes through Arik would be connected to other flights at other internationals airports for them to continue their flights,’’ he said.
Ndulue also said that the proposed Arik Aviation Academy and mega hangar projects were on course and would be executed as soon as funds are available.
The MD commended the Federal Government for bailing out the aviation sector during the economic melt down, adding that the operators were able to repay their bank loans from that bail out