In April 2006, Arik Air was born, supplanting Nigeria Airways Limited in Lagos. The first commercial vehicle to fly was the Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft, and by December 2008, the Airbus A340-500 was launched, flying between Lagos and London’s Heathrow. The Airbus was unique to Arik Air’s arsenal of planes because it offers flat beds and 17-inch monitors for its first-class passengers. In addition, these planes have a communal space, providing a nice change of scenery for bored and weary flyers with its sofas and bar lounge (pictured below left).
By 2009, Arik Air expanded service on the continent from Lagos to Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia, and the Gambia and also holds the distinction of being the only nonstop flight between New York and Nigeria. Today, Arik Air serves 21 locations in Nigeria and 33 locations without.
Since its inception, the airline company has won the International Quality Summit Award for Excellence and Business Prestige and the Best Security and Safety Conscious Airline in Nigeria. NewsOne spoke with Vice President of Arik Air’s America division Robert Brunner (pictured) about why the airline carrier soars above its competitors and whether it is true that one can get a bite of authentic African cuisine en route.
NewsOne: How important are passengers to the company?
Robert Brunner: Customers are of the utmost importance to Arik Air. Without passengers, we don’t have a business. Our focus is customer safety, security, and comfort. Everything we do — from safety and security to catering and marketing — is done with the customer at the forefront of our thinking. We want to provide our passengers with the best possible experience with each and every interaction they have with Arik Air.
NewsOne: How does Arik distinguish itself from other airplane carriers?
RB: We are distinguishable from our competitors in a number of very distinct ways:
- We are the only airline to fly from New York JFK non stop to West Africa.
- Arik Air is the biggest and fastest-growing airline in West and Central Africa.
- We have won numerous safety awards, including receiving the award for Best Security and Safety Conscious Airline in West and Central Africa three times consecutively by Africa’s foremost security and safety magazine, Security Watch Africa.
- Arik Air has the youngest fleet in the industry.
- The airline boasts the most legroom of any airline flying to West and Central Africa.
- Arik Air is the only airline offering same carrier connections domestically in Nigeria.
NewsOne: What future plans does Arik have, i.e., expansion, upgrades?
RB: Arik Air continues to grow, having just added flights to Cotonou, Benin, from Lagos and Dakar, Senegal, from Abuja. We also have numerous aircrafts on order to support future growth plans, including possible expansion to the Middle East (Dubai).
NewsOne: Why should travelers select Arik Air?
RB: Along with the items raised previously about why we are different from other airlines, from the first time a passenger steps on to our aircraft they begin to experience the best that Africa has to offer, including African cuisine, Nollywood films, African music, and African flight attendants, with a natural understanding of African culture.