Following moves by the federal government to establish a national carrier, indications have emerged that the country’s largest carrier, Arik Air, may become the much-needed national carrier.
Managing director of the airline, Mr Chris Ndulue, while speaking with a national daily, said that the airline is only awaiting an official declaration naming it the national carrier as it has already been priding itself as such in the nation’s aviation sphere and abroad.
He said, “When we talk about national carrier, some people tell us that we are the national carrier, but we have not been officially declared the national carrier. So I think that it is just the official declaration that is left. I think we have been acting as a flight carrier for Nigeria and representing it adequately enough and by the grace of God we are still growing. I do not believe that government needs to set up an airline just to call it a national carrier. I think we have to build on what we already have in place.”
Also West Africa’s largest carrier, Arik in October marked nine years of operation in Nigeria and now has 28 aircraft in its fleet. The airline is currently the only Nigeria airline running international operations to the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK) and has lifted over 17 million passengers in the last nine years.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Hajia Binta Bello, had said that the report of the committee on national carrier was ready and awaiting the president’s approval, but did not give details of the committee’s recommendations.