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*Arik Air Returns to Abuja - London Heathrow Route December 12
By Lateef Lawal
Arik Air is to recommence operations between Abuja and London, Heathrow by 12th December, 2011. This is as a result of the positive negotiations between UK and Nigeria governments on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) two weeks ago..
It has been agreed that Arik will now receive two additional weekly slots at Heathrow Terminal 4 in order to operate a daily Abuja – London, Heathrow flight compared to five times weekly that the airline had operated from November 2009 until the end of the last summer schedule in 2011 when it suspended operations due to a number of extraneous factors.
The increased frequency on the route means Nigeria is now operating 14 of its 21 agreed frequencies between the two countries. The airline will operate a daily flight between the two capitals, complementing its daily Lagos – London, Heathrow service bringing Arik’s total frequency of flights between Nigeria and the UK to 14 per week.
Arik will fly in to Terminal 4 operating a New Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft with a two class configuration with 16 Business Class cradle style seats with 8.6’’ TV monitors and 126 ergonomically designed Economy Class seats with a pitch of 34’’. It will depart Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at 11:35am (local time) and arrive in London at 5:05pm (local time). The inbound flight will conveniently depart Heathrow at 9:45pm, arriving in to Abuja for 5:10am affording passengers time to connect on to any one of the 16 domestic destinations served by Arik from its secondary hub. Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide(CON), Executive Chairman and founder of Arik Air, noted:“It had always been our intention to recommence flights between Abuja and London, Heathrow and I am very happy that we will meet that promise before the end of this year. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
Both governments and associated bodies have worked amicably and swiftly to resolve the issue, redress the imbalance and reciprocate on the agreed number of slots. We would like to thank The Federal Government of Nigeria for its unwavering support in this matter; the nation owes its Honorable Government a debt of gratitude for championing the cause of the aviation sector in Nigeria.
This outcome will ultimately be in the long-term interest of Nigeria and her people. I would also like to pay a special thank you to the Honorable Minister for Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah OON, for her leadership and resolve in addressing this imbalance and seeking a solution that is to the benefit of the indigenous airlines for a change.
“As Nigeria’s largest airline it is imperative that we continue to fly the flag for the country and operate daily between London and Nigeria’s federal and economic capitals. The route has for many years been under-served and there was very little value for money being offered. Arik’s entrance in to the market in December 2008 and November 20 09 had addressed some of that and the increased frequency negotiated under these new terms goes a long way to addressing it further.”
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
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