Well, I Guess I’m Not Flying Arik Air Anytime Soon…

I’ve long been intrigued by Arik Air, which is Nigeria’s largest airline. Last year I listed them as one of the “6 totally random airlines I want to fly.”

They operate a flight between New York and Lagos, which is the route on which I was hoping to fly them.

Arik-Air

Well, it looks like the airline is having slight financial problems. By that I mean that they’ve just suspended their flights to London, New York, Johannesburg, etc., and apparently over two thirds of their fleet is no longer operating.

Here’s how Arik Air (diplomatically) describes the situation on their Facebook page:

ARIK SUSPENDS FLIGHTS TO LONDON, JO’BURG

This is to bring to the notice of our travelling public our intention to suspend our international flight operations to enable us find permanent solution facing our passengers as it will enable us to carry out a thorough assessment of the situation.

The strategic business decision is meant to realign our operations and refocus on satisfying our domestic and West Africa and other international passengers. It will also present Arik with excellent opportunity to engage and discuss with creditors who have become restive since the intervention and have also understandably exhausted their patience due to non-payment of accumulated debt and non-performance on services and contracts.

Consequent upon this, arrangements are being made to refund all international passengers of the airline that are affected by this decision.

To our international creditors, Arik is most grateful for your patience and understanding. We reassure them that all pending issues with the airline will be duly addressed as a matter of priority as we plan to engage them in this regard.

The international route is very critical for the strategic turn around, growth strategy and stability of the airline. Therefore we intend to revisit the routes immediately we address all the problems inherited, which is affecting and creating more dissatisfied passenger base. We appeal to all passengers to kindly bear with us as the decision is to ensure that the airline adheres strictly to international aviation best practices.

Ouch! According to Daily Trust, the situation at Arik Air is so bad that they’ve had to ground 21 of their 30 planes:

A statement by AMCON, signed by the management of Arik Airlines, states that the situation is so bad that only nine aircraft (30 percent) out of the 30 in the fleet of the airlines is operational. Twenty-one of them have either been grounded, gone for C-check in Europe or were facing other challenges.

“As if these problems are not enough, the airline does not have money to procure aviation fuel for the nine operational aircraft because no dealer wants to sell aviation fuel to Arik if it is not on cash-and-carry basis.

“This also calls for public understanding because flight schedules may be realigned based on the nine aircraft that are available, technically sound and ready for flight operations,” the statement said.

On top of that, apparently many staff salaries haven’t been paid for months.

Oy, the Nigerian aviation market. On the plus side, at least I can take one airline off my list of airlines to fly, for the time being.

I hope they’re able to sort out their issues, for the sake of their employees and the Nigerian aviation market on the whole. I’ll be curious to see how long this “suspension” lasts.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Arik has been taken over by AMCON (viz. it has been nationalised as a strategic asset that would otherwise have to liquidate). It will never return with its previously unsustainable business model.

    For the sake of their employees, who have been effectively forced to provide services for free for the last many months or else abandon all claims to previous amounts owed, one would hope that a cancer like this airline never graces the Nigerian skies again.

  2. Out of curiosity, let’s say they do start flying again…..how long would you personally need to watch and wait on their operations to have confidence that they are airworthy, both in terms of physical safety and also solvency (so that they wouldn’t go bankrupt between ticket purchase and flight)?

  3. It reads just like a letter I received from a Nigerian prince talking about an inheritance with my name on it.

  4. @John – I believe the solvency issue can be solved by buying a ticket a few weeks out on a credit card. If they go belly up you can then charge back the ticket. Safety is a whole different issue.

  5. In other words, we don’t want to let any extremely expensive assets land in first world airports where our creditors may be able to get a first world legal system to hold it there until we pay them.

  6. The Abuja airport is scheduled to close for 6 weeks starting March 7, and all flights will be sent to Kaduna 100 miles away. Kaduna has several travel warnings issued for it too, with high risks of violence and terrorism, so how they think they are going to safely bus people 100 miles to Abuja is beyond me.

  7. 725 Arik Air / W3 was already suspended from the IATA BSP here since last week.
    Means that agents couldn’t issue/refund 725-stocked tickets anymore.

  8. “Well, I Guess I’m Not Flying Arik Air Anytime Soon…”

    Fortunately….

    Rest assured, only the most loathsome trolls here were looking forward to a trip report with Arik. 😉

  9. You dodged a bullet. I flew them out of Lagos two weeks ago, and it’s the worst airline I’ve ever experienced: they cancelled my flight and staff demanded a big cash payment to be put on another flight. When I refused, I got to enjoy harassment, intimidation and threats from Arik staff. Eventually I had no choice but to bribe my way on to the flight. I later found out that my original flight had not even been cancelled. It was all a scam. Perpetrated by the airlines’ own staff.

    Arik is an absolute disgrace. The sooner they go bankrupt and close down, the better.

  10. TOTAL SHAMBLES
    ARIKKKKK AIRLINE

    Travelled to Lagos 6th of Dec and luggage arrived 7days later……………………..flight back from Lagos 30th of Dec to London and luggage was delivered 10days later.

    ZERO customer service
    The CEO can not run a business, he should be stopped from setting up a business.

    Never again even if it is a free ticket.

  11. Hey I two weeks ago I bought a ticket using my CSR card from ROB to JNB on Arik to fly in April. Any ideas on what I should do? I already have some hotels which are not refundable but not many (mostly using points). What I am really worried about is the $1,200 I shelled out for the tickets.

  12. I should be flying out of London to Lagos on Arik Air in March, a flight pre booked about two months ago. I contacted my travel agent on what to do when news of suspension came up, the agent asked me to speak directly with arik office in Lagos, and the Lagos office sent me to my agent to apply for refund. The agent claims arik air is already suspended on iata and no way of application for a refund or otherwise, in contacting arik management in London. I understand Medview air is having arrangement with them on the side. Please advise me on what to do, cos right now I’m in state of dilema.
    Tomiwa London

  13. Tomiwa, do a chargeback via your credit or debit card. I’m in the uk, this applies to visa, MasterCard or amex.

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