As Arik Air marks a decade of operating as Nigeria indigenous airline, the management has disclosed that it has safely transported over 19 million passengers during the period.
For the feat, the airline is rolling out the drums to celebrate 10 years of providing safe and secure air travel to the Nigerian public and continually contributing towards the elevation of Nigeria’s global standing.
On October 30, 2006, Arik Air ushered in a new chapter in Nigerian aviation history by beginning commercial operations using new Bombardier CRJ-900 aircraft – the first new aircraft Nigeria had seen in over 20 years.
Since then, 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, capacity deployed, network and number of flights operated, having safely transported 19,543,951 million passengers.
The airline, which started scheduled flights on October 30, 2006 with only three daily flights between Lagos and Abuja now operates an average of 110 daily flights across a network of 18 domestic, 10 regional and 3 international destinations including Johannesburg (South Africa), London Heathrow (UK) and New York JFK (USA).
The airline’s adherence to high operational standards is evident in its achieving the stringent IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) four consecutive times with the last two audits cleared successfully with no findings. This achievement has also earned Arik Air, EIOSA (Enhanced IATA Operational Safety Audit) making it the only airline in the region to have such certification.
Arik Air has continued to pursue various causes that will make the airline more self-sufficient, including the most recent efforts to expand self-catering with the opening of the Lagos Business Class Kitchen.
The new catering unit is now operational and passengers flying on the airline’s Business Class service to London Heathrow, New York JFK or Johannesburg can enjoy a new continental menu prepared locally under very high/world class standards facilities and supervision. It had already commenced domestic self-catering since December 2012.
To improve the customer experience, Arik Air has undertaken and introduced a number of products and services; one of them being, ‘Arik Affinity Wings’, the frequent flyer programme that rewards frequent travellers with an opportunity to earn and spend Affinity Miles with the airline. It is the only airline that rewards customers with both points and miles where points help members to move through the four tiers of the programme while miles enable the members to earn and redeem miles towards travel rewards including free tickets.
The programme also enables users to access exclusive benefits such as extra baggage allowance, access to Arik Air’s business lounges and priority airport check-in at select airports.
In 2013, Arik Air became the first sub-Saharan African airline to introduce booking through a mobile and tablet app in order to enhance the customer experience.
Also In 2014, Arik Air launched Arik Explorer, a travel package programme that incorporates airline seats, hotels, car hire and tours. Travel package is available at “premium” and “affordable” levels and could be customised to meet guests’ particular needs.
The executive Vice president of Arik Air, Mr. Chris Ndulue attributes the phenomenal growth of the airline to its business model which is based on modern equipment and new technology; high standards of maintenance; and connectivity.
Given Arik Air’s dominant position in the aviation market today, along with current and future planned capacity, Ndulue said the airline has the capabilities to take full advantage of the expected passenger traffic growth forecast for the region.
“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,” the managing director stressed.
He thanked Nigerians and travellers worldwide for the support and patronage that has enabled Arik Air to successfully complete a decade in aviation.