Arik Air is considering an order for Bombardier CSeries jets to drive its narrowbody fleet expansion.
“We are looking at it seriously: so seriously, in fact, that we will be having further conversations with them [Bombardier] on potentially taking 13 to 15 units ,” says chief executive Michael Arumemi-Ikhide, who specifies the CS300 as the model in which Arik is interested.
He says the aircraft "seems to rival very strongly" the CRJ900, CRJ1000 and the Boeing 737-700, the latter of which accounts for the bulk of the Nigerian carrier’s narrowbody fleet. "Our analysis is that it [the CS300] will offer us a much lower cost per trip and cost per seat," adds Arumemi-Ikhide.
"One option is potentially to take the CS300 product and use that to phase out our CRJ products, as well as [for] potential replacement for the Boeing 737-700, but all that is in play," he adds.
Meanwhile, the Arik chief says that the first of three CRJ1000 regional jets ordered earlier this year at the Paris air show will be delivered by the middle of December. The other two are due to arrive in the final quarter of 2014.
Four Bombardier Q400s ordered at Paris will be delivered by the end of 2014.
The CRJ1000s will be used domestically and regionally to "thicken up connections" from Abuja to Dakar, Duala and Freetown.
The Q400s will be used to for domestic and regional deployment to develop the Port Harcourt "mini hub" with routes to other oil-rich areas such as Jubilee Field and Duala.
"In Nigeria and West Africa, you do have runway constraints in some of these places and long, thin routes, so the Q400 is ideal for these markets,” he adds.
Arik has on order seven 787-9s which will be delivered between 2017 and 2019. These will be "ideal for widebody expansion to Hong Kong, Beijing and Singapore", says the Arik boss.
The airline has decided to convert two 747-8s into two 777-300ERs which will be delivered from 2016 and "give us a lot of capacity and fit especially for our London Heathrow route", says Arumemi-Ikhide.