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Arik Air becomes National Carrier in Sierra Leone
News Date: 22nd March 2011

One of Nigeria’s major airlines, Arik Air past Wednesday signed a Joint Venture deal with the Government of Sierra Leone to enable it operate the nation’s airline known as Leone Airways, as well as operate from Freetown to London on a wet lease arrangement.

The President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma who visited Nigeria, toured Arik Air’s facilities Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos headquarters of the airline. The flight operation will start in July this year.

Arik’s Vice-President and Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, explained that the airline was invited by the Government of Sierra Leone to operate as the country’s national carrier.

“With this joint venture agreement we will be operating from Freetown to Heathrow and we will deploy two aircrafts on the route which we will be rotating. The Board of Directors has been approved for the Leone Airways and the operation has been very well defined,” he said. Ndulue said all the requisite licenses and certificates have been done and the new company will be based in Freetown.

He also explained that Arik has controlling stake in the deal and it would deploy one of its state-of-the-art aircraft, Boeing 737-800 to the route and this would be alternated with another aircraft.

The Arik Managing Director noted that the airport in Freetown has met international safety standards and has the needed facilities to accommodate the airline’s aircraft.

He confirmed that “the airport has tested facilities and Leone Airways is a separate entity from Arik Air.”

The Nigerian indigenous carrier had, since 2009, been operating to Freetown, which is part of its sub-regional operation.

Source: www.awokonews

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