Nigerian carrier Arik Air has been invited to set up Lagos - originating links with Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Cameroon and Senegal by the countries’ governments and has accelerated the delivery of seven Boeing 737-700s.

Arik chairman Sir Joseph Arumemi-Johnson says the Lagos-based carrier has already received approvals from the five West African nations’ CAAs.

He adds that the invitations are testament to Arik Air’s achievements in Nigeria, where it has been operating since October 2006.

By the fourth quarter of 2008 Arik will take delivery of two additional Boeing 737-700s and two Boeing 737-800s.

The Nigerian carrier has a number of new aircraft on order and recently signed a letter of intent covering three Boeing 747-8 Intercontinentals.

Arik says: “As a consequence of aircraft shortages resulting from Arik’s expanding domestic network and sublime operating performance, the airline also announced and signed an agreement with Boeing to bring forward the delivery date of seven optional 737-700 aircraft from 2013 to 2009.”

In the shorter-term, Arik will begin services to the West African state of Niger Republic, where it has been granted national carrier status, on 1 July.

Sierra Leone will follow soon afterwards.Arumemi-Johnson has called on Boeing to work with Nigeria’s CAA to help bring the country’s systems and knowledge base up to date.

He has also asked the US manufacturer to help with training at Nigeria’s aviation technology college in Zaria.

Source:'s sister premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news

Source: Flight International