Friday, January 11, 2013

■ NIGERIA: Air Cote d'Ivoire seeks Arik Air's help in establishing southern hub as Arik Air boss takes swipe at 'frustrating' Nigerian government.

Arik AirAir Cote d'IvoireNigerian carrier Arik Air (W3) and the new national carrier of the Ivory Coast, Air Cote d’Ivoire(HF), have entered into preliminary discussions over a possible partnership, following the visit this week of Air Cote d’Ivoire boss, General Coulibaly Abdoulaye (retired) and the airline’s Managing Director, Rene Decurey.

During the visit to Arik Air's headquarters in Lagos on Wednesday, 9 January, General Abdoulaye said that Arik Air's success and long term vision had sparked the Ivorians' interest, culminating in the visit. Amongst the Ivorian carrier's aims are the establishment of a hub for the southern part of Central Africa (sic).

Managing Director Rene Decurey noted that:
Arik has a vision and this is what distinguishes the airline from other carriers. We like the vision and are here to explore ways of partnering with Arik to help build our hub in Abidjan. We need to urgently develop our domestic network by launching services to eight destinations and Arik has the type of aircraft we require.” 
He described Arik Air as an airline that is service minded adding that his team was positively surprised to see the giant strides the airline has made in six years of operation. “Air Cote d’Ivoire is still young (started operations in November 2012) and we need to be closer to Arik to move forward.

"We want to know how Arik can help us develop the market in English speaking areas of Africa. Nobody is exploiting the routes between Nigeria and Cote d'Ivoire. After (the defunct) Air Afrique our airline wants to retain its routes."
Source [Arik Air]

On board Air Cote d'Ivoire
On board Air Cote d'Ivoire (koaci)
Air Côte d’Ivoire is majority-owned by the government of Ivory Coast (65%), with the balance held by Air France Finance (20%) and Aérienne de Participation-Côte d’Ivoire (15%), an airline holding company of the Aga Khan Foundation.

At the same occasion, Arumemi-Ikhide took a swipe at the Nigerian Government and its "frustrating" policies. He said there were 'things government must do to enhance the operations of the local (Nigerian) operators and it was expected that government should carry out these responsibilities to reposition the airlines to operate profitably and successfully.'
"The Arik Air chairman gave an example of the waiver on imported aircraft and spares, which government announced recently saying that it was yet to be enforced and urged the Nigerian Customs Service to enforce the new policy.
Arumemi-Ikhide also noted that the aircraft in the airline's fleet was underutilised because in many airports in the country there is no airfield lighting; so airlines are forced to terminate their operations by 6.00 pm even when passengers are yearning to be taken to these destinations."
Source [ThisDay]

Earlier, the President/ Group Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Dr. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide took the visiting Ivoirians through a presentation on the history as well as facts and figures on Arik Air.