Arik Air Ltd is a privately and wholly Nigerian owned commercial airline with a commitment to the people of Nigeria to deliver new standards in aviation. In 2002, with Nigeria Airways in liquidation, Arik Air’s Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (KSG, CON), decided to buy a Hawker jet aircraft. Colleagues and contacts in the gas and oil industry started using the Hawker jet to fly themselves around Nigeria. So, another jet was acquired and before long, a corporate jet business was launched. The next step was to find the right people and the right aircraft to build an airline that would set new standards and change the face of aviation in Africa. Arik Air was born – an airline with whom “Nigeria and the rest of Africa would be proud to fly”.
In April 2006, Arik Air took occupation of some of the former Nigeria Airways facilities in Lagos and major reconstruction work began immediately. Arik Air also took delivery of three brand new Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft making the airline the first CRJ900 operator on the African continent and the first airline to introduce new commercial aircraft into Nigeria in over 20 years. In October 2006, seven months after taking occupation of some of the old Nigeria Airways premises and transforming them into a state-of-the-art facility, Arik Air was inaugurated, opening its doors to the traveling public on 30 October 2006.
Additional brand new aircraft have joined the growing fleet which now stands at 23 aircraft, making it the largest airline in Nigeria and West Africa. By the end of 2012, Arik Air had successfully flown over 10 million passengers in under six years of operation across a network of 41 domestic and international routes. It operates an average of 120 flights daily from its two hubs at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.
In April 2007, Arik Air International Ltd was established in London by Dr Michael Arumemi-Ikhide. Set up to develop the worldwide routes and deliver a truly global airline with world class standards, Arik Air International acts as the overseas corporate office of Arik Air. On 15 December 2008, Arik Air successfully launched its first long-haul flight between Lagos and London Heathrow, flying daily with a newly acquired Airbus A340-500, offering the highest degree of operational flexibility and unmatched passenger comfort. The aircraft offers 36 Premier Class and 201 Economy Class seats. Premier Class passengers enjoy ‘super flat’ beds equipped with 17 inch monitors and a new generation in-built massage system. It also has a communal area which comprises a bar lounge, sofas and a seat-free space for socializing.
In June 2009, Arik Air commenced operations to its second long haul destination – Johannesburg, South Africa – as well as flights to several destinations in the West African region; linking Lagos to Sierra Leone, Senegal, The Gambia as well as Benin and Ghana. November 2009 saw the launch of Arik Air’s latest international destination – New York, operating non-stop flights three times a week, between New York (JFK) and Lagos. The route is served by Arik’s flagship A340-500 aircraft, operated by partner Hi Fly Transportes Aereos S.A. of Portugal. In addition, Arik launched non-stop services between the capital cities of London and Abuja from its new home at the renovated London Heathrow Terminal 4.
In 2011 Arik became a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) having successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) the previous year. Towards the end of the year, Arik commenced direct flights to its first international destinations in over one year, connecting Cotonou (Benin), Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) with Lagos. One week later it became the first Nigerian airline to fly non-stop between Lagos and Luanda (Angola).
In 2012, Arik launched its second foray into Central Africa, connecting Lagos to Douala (Cameroon.) In October, Arik won the Best Security & Safety Conscious Airline 2012 award for the second consecutive year. In December 2012, Arik launched its third destination in Central Africa, extending its Douala flights to connect Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With traffic rights obtained to many other international destinations across the globe, including approvals to fly to China, more cities in the US, Europe, UAE and Brazil, and with new aircraft set to join the fleet, this is just the beginning of Arik Air’s international expansion.
Key Facts & Figures
- 2002, with the national airline in liquidation, Sir Arumemi-Ikhide buys a Hawker jet aircraft for his personal use, safety and convenience. Word spreads and before long his business contacts in the oil and gas industry are using his aircraft to travel throughout Nigeria too. He buys a second Hawker jet. Sir Arumemi-Ikhide becomes the owner of a corporate jet business.
- 2004, Arik Air is incorporated with the goal of becoming an airline that ‘Nigeria and the rest of the world would be proud to fly’ (Sir Arumemi-Ikhide).
- 2005, Sir Arumemi-Ikhide brings together an experienced airline start-up team and sources the best aircraft to launch an airline that will set new standards and change the face of the aviation industry in Nigeria.
- April, 2006, Arik Air takes over the former Nigeria Airways Limited facility in Lagos and major reconstruction work begins to transform it into a modern office complex.
- October 10, 2006, Arik Air’s new headquarters and maintenance facility are inaugurated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, represented by the then Aviation Minister, Professor Babalola Aborishade.
- October 30, 2006, following the completion of successful ‘proving’ flights, Arik Air welcomes passengers on board the brand new Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft, the first new commercial aircraft to operate in Nigeria for over 20 years.
- In 2007 domestic services are expanded from Lagos and from the airline’s second hub of Abuja. The airline invests circa $US 3.7 billion in an order for new medium and long haul aircraft.
- January 2008, the airline commences its first African regional service, to Accra (Ghana).
- May 2008, wins the International Quality Summit Award in New York (USA), (Gold Award) in recognition of Excellence & Business Prestige.
- August 2008, introduces a state-of-the-art Operations Control Centre (OCC) at the head office in Lagos, making them the second airline in the world and first in Africa to have such equipment.
- December 2008, commercial operations begin on the airline’s first international long haul route with a daily non-stop service between Lagos and London Heathrow (UK). The route is served by Arik’s flagship new A340-500 aircraft, operated by partner Hi Fly Transportes Aereos S.A. of Portugal.
- April 2009, welcomes more than 2.5 million guests on board their domestic, regional and international services since launch.
- June 2009, commences operations to its second long haul destination – Johannesburg, South Africa – as well as flights to several destinations in the West African region; linking Lagos to Freetown (Sierra Leone), Dakar (Senegal), Banjul (Gambia) as well as Cotonou (Benin).
- July 2009, carries its 3 millionth passenger.
- November 2009, launches third long-haul destination – New York, operating non-stop flights three times a week, between New York JFK (USA) and Lagos. In addition, Arik launches non-stop services between the capital cities of London and Abuja from their new home at the renovated London Heathrow Terminal 4.
- February 2010, Arik Air’s Chairman, Sir Arumemi-Ikhide honoured at the 15th Annual ThisDay Award 2010 as one of the 50 most distinguished Nigerians, for his commitment to launch and build Arik Air. The airline also receives the prestigious Nigerian Airline of the Year Award for the third successive year.
- August 2010, obtains International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) certification from US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowing the carrier to operate Nigerian registered aircraft into the USA.
- October 2010, wins the International Quality Summit Award in Paris (France), (Platinum Awards).
- December 2010, carries its 6 millionth passenger.
- January 2011, launches first Frequent Flyer Programme, Arik WingsPlus
- March 2011, obtains placement onto the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry. In the same month, receives Part 129 approval from the USA Department of Transport and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to commence operations to the United States in Nigerian registered aircraft, becoming the first Nigerian airline to receive the approval in over 15 years.
- October 2011, becomes a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) having successfully completed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).
- December 2011, commences direct flights connecting Cotonou, Bamako (Mali) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) with Lagos. Arik also becomes the first Nigerian airline to fly non-stop between Lagos and Luanda (Angola).
- August 2012, launches second foray into Central Africa, connecting Lagos to Douala (Cameroon.)
- September 2012, carries 10 millionth passenger in under six years of operation.
- October 2012, wins the Best Security & Safety Conscious Airline 2012 award for the second consecutive year.
- December 2012, launches third Central African destination to Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo).
- January 2013, launches new Book-on-Hold online payment option for Nigeria customers. The first of a wave of new online initiatives
- April 2013, receives “Company of the Year 2012” award at the Leadership Annual Conference in Abuja.
- May 2013, launches Online Check-in for domestic passengers.
- Arik Air employs over 2,000 staff.
Lagos October ’06
Abuja October ’06
Calabar November ’06
Benin City January ’07
Enugu January ’07
Port Harcourt February ’07
Kano June ’07
Jos September ’07
Warri September ’07
Maiduguri December ’07
Yola December ’07
Owerri February ’08
Sokoto March ’08
Kaduna June ’08
Gombe April ’09
Ilorin October ‘09
Uyo December ‘09
Asaba September ‘11
Ibadan September ‘11
Accra (Ghana) January ‘08
London, Heathrow (UK) December ‘08
Freetown (Sierra Leone) June ‘09
Banjul (the Gambia) June ‘09
Dakar (Senegal) June ‘09
Johannesburg (South Africa) June ‘09
New York, JFK November ‘09
Monrovia (Liberia) August ‘10
Luanda (Angola) December’11
Douala (Cameroon) August ‘12
Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) December ‘12
Routes Domestic (29)
Lagos- Abuja- Lagos Abuja-Port Harcourt-Abuja
Lagos-Enugu- Lagos Abuja-Calabar-Abuja
Lagos- Calabar- Lagos Abuja-Benin-Abuja
Lagos – Benin – Lagos Abuja-Warri-Abuja
Lagos-Port Harcourt- Lagos Abuja-Owerri-Abuja
Lagos-Accra (2x daily days 1,2,3,4,5, 6 / 1x day 7)
Abuja-Accra (5x weekly days 1, 2,4,5,7)
Lagos-Freetown (3x weekly days 3,5,7)
Lagos-Banjul (3x weekly days 3,5,7)
Lagos-Dakar (6x weekly days 1,3,4,5,6,7)
Lagos-Monrovia (3x weekly days 1,3,5)
Lagos-Douala (3x weekly days 2,4, 6)
Lagos-Luanda (2x weekly days 2,6)
Lagos-London Heathrow (1x daily)
Lagos-Johannesburg (1x daily)
Lagos-New York (3x weekly days 1,3,5)
Lagos- Douala-Kinshasa (2x weekly days 3,7)
Arik Air Fleet
The fleet consists of well-maintained and modern aircraft. The aircraft are also highly fuel-efficient, helping them operate in a way that is friendly towards the environment. To meet the evolving requirements of the different markets they serve, they fly equipment from up to five different aircraft manufacturers. The capacity of the individual aircraft ranges from just eight seats in the two Hawkers to as many as 237 in the wide-body Airbus A340-500. The specifications of various aircraft in the operating fleet as of April, 2011 are given below:
Aircraft: Airbus A340-542. Quantity: 2 Manufacture date: 2008-2009 Seat Capacity: 237 Range: 16.050 km
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800NG Quantity: 4 Manufacture date: 2009 Seat Capacity: 148 Range: 5,665 km
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700NG Quantity: 6 Manufacture date: 2007-2009 Seat Capacity: 131-149 Range: 6.230 km
Aircraft Boeing 737-700 Quantity: 3 Manufacture date: 2001 Seat Capacity: 124 Range: 6.230 km
Aircraft: Bombardier CRJ-900 Quantity: 4 Manufacture date: 2006-2007 Seat Capacity: 74 Range: 2774 km
Aircraft: Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 Quantity: 2 Manufacture date: 2009 Seat Capacity: 72 Range: 2500 km
Aircraft Hawker Aircraft: Hawker HS 125-800X Quantity: 2 Manufacture date: 2005-2006 Seat Capacity: 8 Range: 4,854 km