Arik Air, Nigeria’s leading private airline is to go public by May 2016. This was the high point of a presentation made at a breakfast meeting on September 2 in Lagos by Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, Chairman of Arik Air. The breakfast meeting was organized by Aviation Round Table with the topic: Ownership, funding and sustainability of Nigeria airlines.
Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide lamented the hash operating conditions local airlines find themselves in Nigeria, conditions that have made it difficult for many to last the distance. These conditions which include high interest rates, financial sector hostility, lack of protection from the Federal Government, high prices of aviation fuel, lack of Repair, Overhaul and maintenance facilities. Besides, he decried the negative treatment fromm Federal aviation agencies wherein foreign airlines are easily granted frequencies whereas local airlines are made to pass the eyes of a needle.
According to him, “It is cheaper to buy aviation fuel in Accra and Dubai than to buy in Nigeria, because of the cost. The banking industry is not friendly, during the volcanic ash cloud, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic got compensated, and Kenya Airways was compensated with 4500 million over the crisis in that country”.
Arik Air was established in 2002 and commenced commercial flights in 2006. Today it operates from hubs at Murtala Mohammed international airport in Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. The airline has a fleet size of 26 modern air crafts and flies local and international destinations.