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Arik To Commence London Operations

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Arik Air, Nigeria’s largest commercial airline is now set to commence daily non-stop service from Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos to London Heathrow Terminal 2, on December 15.

This will be the first international flight for Arik Air since commencing operations on October 30, 2006 an airline statement on Wednesday said.

The airline has already acquired the new Airbus A340-500 long range aircraft, the first of which was recently revealed at a VIP function in Abuja on December 04th, 2008.

Arik Air will not only be the first airline in Nigeria to operate to the UK with a brand new aircraft, it will also be the first airline in Nigeria and the entire African continent to operate this ultra modern long range variant of the Airbus A340 family.

Capable of the flying both transatlantic and transpacific routes non-stop, the A340-500 is one of the quietest, environmentally responsible aircraft in the world, which will enable Arik Air to optimise its network expansion and hub status of Lagos in the region.

Arik Air has selected a spacious layout for the new A340-500 in an enhanced 36 fully lie-flat ‘seat bed’ in their Business First cabin (Premier cabin), and 201 seats in Economy Class, offering more comfort and legroom.

Other new features on board this aircraft include –in-seat massagers and a bar and lounge area for Premier passengers to socialise and relax on ultra long haul flights up to 18hours, mood lighting, Audio and Video on Demand IFE in both cabins, large personal monitor screens.

The extra wide seats and 50 per cent more leg room in Economy cabin, gourmet cuisine and a mix of Nigerian and International cabin crew will also add to a host of comforts and luxury offered in the cabin.

Arik Air flight W3001 departs Lagos at 12pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, arriving London at 5.30pm; on Thursdays and Sundays, departing Lagos at 10.25am and arriving London at 355pm, Tuesdays departing at 9.20am and arriving London at 250pm and Fridays at 11.10am arriving Heathrow at 440pm. Return flight W3002 will depart daily from London Heathrow Terminal 2 at 10.05pm arriving Lagos at 5.30am the next morning. Arik said tickets are now on sale for the new route and can be purchased through the various city and airport ticket offices of the airline.

The airline intends to open check-in counters at least four hours in advance and close the counters 90 minutes before departure, to ensure sufficient time for immigration, customs formalities and security screening.

Arik Air Chairman Mr. Johnson Arumemi Johnson said ‘We are extremely proud and thrilled to announce the launch of our first international service between Lagos and London Heathrow. I believe that this route is underserved and our entry just in time for the holiday season will connect Nigerians in the Diaspora with their friends and families.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria and South Africa have, in a new Bilateral Air Services Agreement, increased the frequency of scheduled flights between both countries from four to 10 a week, and from two entry points in each case, to boost commerce between both nations.

In addition, another Nigerian carrier, Arik has been okayed to fly the route. Virgin Nigeria and Bellview Airlines already operate the Lagos-Johanesburg route.

The Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan stated this on Tuesday, during an interactive session with the media on the sidelines of the Review Meeting of the 7th Nigeria-South Africa Bi-National Commission in Pretoria, South Africa according to a statement from the VP office on Wednesday.

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