Monday, June 27, 2011
Arik Air: The Domestic Network from Abuja, 2011
In the aftermath of the collapse of first Nigeria Airways in 2003, then beloved Bellview in 2009, followed by the tortuous decline of Virgin Nigeria's once-grand plans for global presence, which underwent a confused transition to Nigeria Eagle Airlines and finally to the muted but still-competent Air Nigeria, Africa's most populous country seemed to lack a flag carrier.
But lately and quickly, that position has been taken on by the young Arik Air, which in a few years of operation has achieved what Virgin Nigeria once dreamed of: non-stop flights to the trifecta of premier destinations: New York, London and Johannesburg, which have been operated heretofore by A340-500s wet-leased from a Portuguese vendor.
The latest achievement is the news this week was that Arik has been granted FAA approval to fly its own, Nigerian-registered aircraft into the United States-- the first Nigerian airline in decades to enjoy this privilege.
Beyond its global ambitions, Arik has a strong domestic presence, shown in this and the following post, with two bases: one at the Federal Capital, Abuja, shown with the white aircraft hovering over a blue map, above, and the other at Murtala Mohammed Airport at Lagos, shown in the next entry.