West Africa’s largest carrier, Arik air, which started commercial operations on October 30, 2006, has carried 17, 304, 741 passengers in about nine years of operations.
Chris Ndulue, managing director of the airline, while enumerating achievements and future plans of the airline at a press conference to mark the company’s ninth year anniversary in Lagos, he said from 29, 363 passengers flown in two months in 2006, ‘we have flown 17, 304, 741 passengers as at September 30, 2015, this is just in less than nine years of operations’.
According to him, with the progress of the airline, it plans to begin a daily flight between Lagos and New York by early 2016.
With the arrival of aircraft such as two Q400, two CRJ1000 and two A330-200, the airline will have enough aircraft for its news operations, including the plan to launch Lagos-Rome-Lagos operation by the first quarter of 2016.
Ndulue, who disclosed that the airline would also launch operations to Libreville in the first quarter of 2016, re-emphasised that the company go public in 2016 first quarter while it would be listed on the stock exchange by 2017 after an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
“In 2006, we started with only Lagos-Abuja flight, we now fly to 19 domestic and 12 regional /international destinations, we currently employs over 3,000 Nigerians directly, we will also be extending our Abidjan operations to Dakar from mid-November”, he said.
Ndulue, who noted that though, there had been serious challenges that have faced the airlines in the course of operations, he noted that the company had surmounted many due many years of experience, adding however that that there is need for government still needs to do more for airlines.
He is also of the opinion that Arik Air can conveniently serve as a national carrier, adding that it has all the structures it needs for it.
“I don’t think there is any need for government to plan a national carrier when the structure and what it needs are in already in place”, he added.