Arik Air non-stop, daily Lagos-Johannesburg flights from June 1, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009, 13:12 by Aviation Correspondent

Arik Air, based in Lagos, Nigeria, has announced that it will begin non-stop, daily service between Lagos and Johannesburg, in South Africa, on June 1, 2009.  The new flight from Lagos to Johannesburg will be Arik Air’s second long-haul international destination, after the service between Lagos and Heathrow Airport in London.

Arik Air has its main base at Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.

The new flight will leave Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos at 9.35 p.m. local time and land at Oliver Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg at 04.50 a.m. the following morning.

In the return direction, the flight will depart Johannesburg at 1.45 p.m. local time and reach Lagos at 7.00 p.m. local time on the same day.

Mike McTighe, managing director of Arik Air, said at a news conference in Lagos that the airline had obtained all approvals necessary to fly on the Lagos-Johannesburg route.

McTighe was quoted by the website thisdayonline.com as telling reporters, “This is a particularly exciting development for all travellers between Lagos and Johannesburg.”

The airline will operate the Lagos-Johannesburg service with a new Airbus A340-500 aircraft which, McTighe said, “would allow the carrier to offer its guests on board the very highest levels of in-flight service.”

Mike McTighe claimed that Arik Air’s first Airbus A340-500 aircraft was “proving popular” on its daily service between Lagos and London’s Heathrow Airport.

He said that the second new Airbus has been configured in the same spacious layout with 36 seats in premier class and 201 seats in the economy class.

Arik Air said in a statement that guests in the premier class would enjoy “luxurious leather-upholstered seats that convert into fully flat, 75-inch-long beds as well as personal on-demand video and audio entertainment system with a 17-inch-wide personal TV screen.

Passengers in the premier class also will have their own in-flight bar area.

Arik Air said that its economy-class, which comes in a 2-4-2 seat layout, gives each passenger 50% more legroom than its competitors. No passenger would be more than one seat away from the aisle, the airline added.

Arik Air would be competing with Bellview, the private airline based in Lagos, Nigeria, and South Africa Airways, the flag-carrier airline of South Africa and the country’s biggest domestic and international carrier, on the Lagos-Johannesburg route.

The Nigeria-based airline Virgin Nigeria had suspended flights on the Lagos-Johannesburg route in early 2009, citing financial problems.

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