Airbus has confirmed Nigerian carrier Arik Air is to take three Rolls-Royce Trent 500-powered Airbus A340-500s, originally destined for Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines.

Lagos-based Arik has signed a firm purchase contract for the three aircraft, all of which are slated for delivery by the end of November.

Arik chairman Sir Joseph Arumemi-Johnson says: "This aircraft order will enable Arik Air to start international connections with new and modern aircraft that will support our objective to become one of Africa's key airlines."

Arik Air A340-500 
 © Airbus

The Nigerian carrier will use the aircraft to develop its Lagos and Abuja hubs. It plans to deploy them in a two-class configuration on its new routes to London, New York and Houston.

An Airbus spokesman says: "They were originally destined for Kingfisher and, given some rearrangement of aircraft with Kingfisher, we saw a need for them with Arik Air because they desperately need the aircraft."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news