Arik set to hit 20m-passenger mark by year end
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, economic recession notwithstanding, and forex crisis inclusive, Arik Air is closing in on hitting 20 million-passenger mark already set for December 2016.
ArikAir said it had in the last one decade of operations airlifted 19.5 million passengers in total.
Explaining more during a celebration to mark its 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.
According to the Managing Director of the Airline, Chris Ndulue, “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”.
Currently, 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 said “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.
However, Ndulue added with happiness that the airline has recorded giant strides since it began operations with new Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft on October 30, 2006, noting that since then, the group 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.
Elated Ndulue averred that “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.”