Arik Air Set To Build Own Terminal


Contrary to expectations by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, managers of the  Murtala Muhammed Airpot 2, MMA2, that Nigeria’s biggest airline, Arik Air, will  relocate its domestic operations from the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, to MMA2,  the airline has announced that it is set to build its own terminal in Lagos, South  West Nigeria.

The newly appointed Managing Director of Arik Air, Mr. Chris Ndulue, told  journalists at the weekend during a press conference to mark the airline’s fourth  anniversary that Arik Air is only awaiting approval from the Federal Airports  Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, to commence work.

The terminal building, if approved, will be contrary to an agreement signed between  FAAN and Bi-Courtney some years ago that all domestic operations in Lagos should  take place from MMA2.

“We are hoping that we will have government approval to develop a terminal in Lagos.  We want to develop a terminal operated by FAAN and I am surprised as well as you are  that the government hasn’t approved it,” Ndulue told journalists, with Chairman of  Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide Johnson nodding in approval.

“Terminal is a major challenge for us and GAT is grossly inadequate. There is no  terminal like GAT all over the world,” Ndulue said.

He revealed that once the terminal is built and completed, modalities will be worked  out with FAAN on how to manage it.

The Chief Operations Officer at MMA2, Mr. Jerome Marinho, however, reiterated that  Arik Air has been violating the concession agreement Bi-Courtney signed with FAAN.  According to the agreement, he said, the airline should not be allowed by FAAN to  operate from GAT.

Marinho said that MMA2 is operating below its capacity at the moment while using an  average of 50, 000 litres of diesel every week to run the terminal on generators.

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“The temperature of every terminal building should be 22 degrees. But when there is  no electricity from the government’s agency, we have to run on generators to  maintain that standard for our passengers to be comfortable in our world-class  terminal. How can any sensible man operate from GAT? That is not a terminal,” he  said.

With every passenger travelling through MMA2 paying N1000 to the terminal operators,  Arik Air’s 120 domestic flights can greatly boosts Bi-Courtney’s revenue generation  and prevent the first Public Private Partnership in terminal operation in the  country from collapsing.

Meanwhile, Arik Air has disclosed that it spent about $6.8 billion (about N900  billion) in its operations since it started business four years ago.

“From three aircraft on 30 October 2006 when we started operations, presently Arik  Air has the largest fleet in Nigeria with 26 short, medium and long range aircraft.  Arik Air has carried 5.8 million passengers in four years of operation and now  controls over 40% of the total domestic market share.

“Arik Air does about 150 daily flights from its two hubs in Lagos and Abuja and  serves 22 airports across Nigeria, six in West Africa (Cotonou, Accra, Monrovia,  Freetown, Banjul, Dakar), one in South Africa (Johannesburg), one in Europe (London  Heathrow), and one in America (New York JFK).

“Arik Air also services 44 routes across the world and has invested over $6.1  billion on aircraft acquisition including orders. We also invested over $2 million  on training of cadet pilots in Nigeria (NCAT) and South Africa and another N1  billion on staff training including pilots’ simulation  and  $4 million on explosive  and narcotic trace devices as well as screening machines,” Ndulue said with Arik  Chairman adding, “those who say we are indebted should continue to say so.”

—Simon Ateba

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