Arik Air is a Nigerian-owned airline that began operation in 2006. The airline principally runs from the main airports of Abuja and Lagos to the rest of the world. How much do you know about the airline? A little? Not to worry, we have you covered. Here are five things you must know about Arik Air.
1, Arik took over Nigerian Airways
Wonder where Nigeria Airways is? The national carrier closed shut in 2003 after years of steady decline which see them fall from flying 2.1 million passengers a day to just 10,000 in their last operational days. In its last days, Nigerian airways had only one plane, accounted for just six percent of domestic flights and one percent of international flights involving Nigeria and owe over half a billion dollars in debts.
Virgin Atlantic Airways was contracted by the Nigerian government to take over the airline for which they created Virgin Nigeria, but it was Arik Air which took over the facilities of Nigerian Airways. With Virgin Nigeria out of operation, Arik remains the sole replacement of the airline.
2, The airline is used to fly to the whole world
The airline used to fly to the south African capital of Johannesburg, and as far as London, plus the fact that they have had the license to fly into the United States (Atlanta and New York City), Trinidad and Tobago, Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Dubai. They no longer fly to these places.
Arik Air announced in February 2017 that they are suspending their international operations in order “to enable us find permanent solution facing our passengers as it will enable us to carry out a thorough assessment of the situation.”
More than twelve months later, they are still working on it.
To their credit, they have a strong presence in Africa as they go beyond West African cities of Accra, Abidjan, Cotonou, Freetown, Banjul and Dakar (where they ply), to cities in Central Africa such as Douala, Luanda and Libreville. Their presence in Nigeria is also solid as they fly to and fro Abuja, Asaba, Benin City, Calabar, Enugu, Gombe, Ibadan, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Owerri, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Warri, and Yola.
3, Arik Air is the largest locally-owned airline in Nigeria
They run a fleet of 23 planes (correct as of November 2017). This is no big deal when you judge with the big airlines in Europe, America and Asia. But in Nigeria, and even Africa, it is a big deal. Arik Air is not just number one in Nigeria, they are number eight in Africa. Only Egypt Air, South African Airways, Royal Air (Morocco), Ethiopian Airlines, Tunisair, Kenya Airways and Air Algerie are bigger.
One way to understand how big Arik Air is in relation to other Nigerian airways is to look at the number of planes they have retired. They have retired 15 planes between 2011 and 2017; they have more retired planes than Medview and Dana Airlines put together.
4, Arik Air has never experienced a crash
Following, the somewhat bad record Nigerian airlines have with crashes, Arik stand as one airline that has never experienced a clash in its over fifteen years history. SaharaReporters reported on November 13, 2016, that an Arik aircraft the Boeing 737 with registration number 5N-MJD which departed the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos lost one of its engines mid-air just sixty miles into its flight to Jos. The plane was forced to initiate an emergency landing in Lagos. Such was the height of the problem that the report says that the plane on landing was unable to taxi on the runway and had to be towed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
5, Arik Air fleet has a relatively young age
The Arrik fleet is made up of various types of Boeings, CRJs, Airbuses, Bombardiers and the Hawk with Boeing 737-700NG being the largest with six planes. According to their site, the oldest plane in their fleet was manufactured in 2001 while the latest is a product of 2013, giving their fleet a rough average age of fourteen years. There are causes to doubt the figures on their site but one reason to believe them is the fact that Arik has the highest number of retired planes in Nigeria, having retired more than a dozen planes since the inception of the company and there is no record of any of their plane grounded due to its airworthiness.