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Friday, February 4, 2011

Arik gets approval to fly to Turkey

The Federal Government has approved Arik Air as one of Nigeria’s private airlines permitted to fly direct from Abuja to Istanbul starting from June this year.

The Minister of Aviation, Fidelia Njeze, said while speaking during President Goodluck Jonathan’s meeting with the organized private sector (OPS) in Istanbul that this follows a new negotiation on the existing Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) signed between Nigeria and the Republic of Turkey. Mrs. Njeze said, “By June this year to be precise, Nigeria’s side of the BASA would come into play. Good enough, Arik is now collaborating with Turkish Airline in that aspect and by June, Arik will start flying from Nigeria to Turkey and that would now fulfil the Nigerian aspect of the BASA”. Prior to this new arrangement, Turkey was the only beneficiary of the BASA arrangement with Turkish Airline operating flights operations into the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, at least three times in a week. Speaking further on the government’s plans to remodel and build five terminal buildings, at major international airports in the country, the Aviation minister said, “we have done quite a lot in trying to improve on the ambiance, that is the comfort. The ambiance is what the passengers feel and that is what will engender confidence in the safety and critical equipment we have put in place.” She noted that, “Nobody travels by sea or by road from country to country it is by air and investors coming in, it is what they see at the airports that will actually give them confidence to invest in a particular country. And that is why government is conscious of it, that we need to transform our airports,” Mrs. Njeze said. She further emphasized that government cannot isolate airport infrastructure development “from our Vision 2020 aspiration. The need to transform our airports to me is key in our Vision 2020 aspiration. We must transform our airports because that will help investors to really come and invest in the country”.

The Chairman of Arik Air, John Arumemi-Johnson, who was part of the private sector delegation, in a chat with newsmen in Istanbul said he was elated that Airline was selected to fly the Istanbul route and assured Nigerians of the airline’s competence to deliver on its objectives. Thanking Mr. Jonathan for approving the airline for the operations, the Arik boss pledged his commitments to continue to contribute his own quota to the overall development of the aviation sector.

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