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Sierra Leone adopts Arik Air as national carrier

By on March 26, 2011

The partnership between Arik Air and the Sierra Leonean government may have been taken up a notch further as country adopts Arik as the flag carrier. The partnership which will see Arik Air as Sierra Leone�s international carrier flying passengers from the country to London will come into effect in July this year.

According to Arik Air�s Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue who spoke to reporters on the unfolding deal, the joint venture between both parties will be named Leone Air and the Arik will certify more than one aircraft to enable it operate the route.

Ndulue said, “We are putting the structure in place and we are going to register more than one of our aircraft with the Sierra Leonean call sign this is so that if there is any need for a change we will be able to do that on time. Right now however, we are planning to start to one Boeing 737-800 but we will improve on it as time goes by.”

Meanwhile the Sierra Leonean President, Ernest Bai Koroma had visited Arik Air Aviation Centre at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos to acquaint himself with operations of the airline.

President Koroma, who was on a two-day visit to Nigeria, was received by the top management of the airline led by the Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue.

The Sierra Leonean President was conducted round the facilities at Arik Air including the airline�s state-of-art Operations Control Centre (OCC) and the maintenance hangar. He expressed satisfaction with the facilities in place at the airline�s headquarters.

Speaking with journalists shortly after the departure of President Koroma, Ndulue said the visit was to cement the existing relationship between the airline and the Sierra Leonean government.

He disclosed that Arik Air has entered into a joint venture agreement with the government of Sierra Leone to incorporate an airline, Leone Airways which will be the country�s national carrier.

Ndulue elaborated on the visit: “President Koroma came on a courtesy visit to Arik headquarters so he can familiarize himself with our operational base. He was very impressed with what he saw.”

He stated that the new Leone Air will operate the Freetown to London route and that structures are being put in place to enable the new airline start operations soon.

Arik Air, according to Ndulue, is not new to the government and people of Sierra Leone as the airline has been operating flights between Lagos and Freetown since June 2009. He therefore sees the new joint venture as a vote confidence in the airline.

Source : Daily Champion