At last, crisis-ridden Arik Air suspends London, Jo’burg routes, to concentrate on local, regional flights. After struggling to make an impact on its remaining two international routes and failed, Arik Air has announced the suspension of flights to London and Johannesburg.
This is coming barely five days after the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), took over the running of the distressed airline whose 30 aircraft fleet, depleted to just nine in one year.
The airline also said that it is suspending its international routes to concentrate on local and regional routes, which have been epileptic in the past four years.
A statement by the new management of the airline also said that the airline decided to stop the two long-haul flights to find permanent solution facing its passengers.
The carrier had about two years ago suspended operations on Lagos-Dubai route due to its inability to compete with other carriers on the route due mostly to poor customer service by its staff and management.
The new management further said that the suspension would enable it to carry out a thorough assessment of the situation.
It added that the suspension of operations was a strategic business decision, which was meant to refocus the troubled carrier to concentrate on its domestic operations.
“This is to bring to the notice of the traveling public our intention to suspend our international flight operations to enable us to find permanent solution facing our passengers as it will allow 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,” the statement added.
The statement however assured that it would refund all international passengers of the airline affected by the decision especially those who have booked their flights on these routes ahead of time.
It also commended its international creditors for their patience and understanding and assured them that all pending issues with the airline would be duly addressed as a matter of priority.
“The international route is very critical for the strategic turnaround, growth strategy and stability of the airline. Therefore we intend to revisit the routes immediately as we address all the problems inherited, which is affecting and creating more passenger dissatisfaction.
“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.”