Nigeria’s major carrier Arik Air is making plans to operate direct flights to India to tap into the huge traffic of travellers between the world’s second most populated country and Nigeria.
This consideration came to the fore when the Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Ajjampur Rangalah Ghanashyam, visited the airline’s headquarters in Lagos.
The High Commissioner during the visit discussed with Arik on the possibility of the airline starting operation to India, considering the fact that presently passengers travelling from Nigeria have to connect to India through Addis Ababa, South Africa or Dubai, which usually makes the trip cumbersome.
According to the High Commissioner, direct flights between Nigeria and India would boost business, tourism, save passengers flight time and reduce the stress of the journey.
“Direct flights are also important during medical emergencies, because direct movement of patients during emergencies would save a lot of lives,” Ghanashyam said.
He said he was impressed with the profile of the airline, which appears to him a professionally run carrier, stressing that Arik Air’s fleet size, route network and staff strength meant it was an airline that would serve as a strong partner in providing direct flights between India and Nigeria.
“With over 120 daily flights, 26 aircraft and over 2000 direct employees, Arik Air qualifies as a serious player for any Indian airline to partner with in order to facilitate seamless flights between the two countries.
“This visit to Arik Air is the first stage in building an initial bridge of understanding. The airlines will decide the potential and viability of a partnership. I am confident that Arik Air has done well, given the facilities I have seen,” Ghanashyam said.
The High Commissioner was received on the visit by the Chairman of Arik Air, Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide, President/Group Chief Executive, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide and Deputy Managing Director, Captain Ado Sanusi.