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Arik begins operation as Sierra Leone’s national carrier

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Arik begins operation as Sierra Leone’s national carrier

Post  Admin on Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:02 pm

Arik Air yesterday commenced operation as the national carrier of Sierra Leone. With this development, the airline also plans to extend such flight operations to Niger Republic and Angola before the end of the year.

In a ceremony at the Freetown International Airport, Lungi, which was attended by the President of Sierra Leone, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, the Minister of Aviation, Babatunde Omotoba and the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, Arik dedicated the two aircraft, B737-700 and B737-800 to the country The aircraft were delivered by the manufacturing company, Boeing, last week.
The new aircraft, according to the airline, was designated for London-Freetown route, while the other was designated for regional operations from Freetown .
Welcoming the Nigerian delegation, President Koroma described the partnership between Arik Air and his country as the dawn of a new era in regional cooperation and interdependence of nations which had become a reality.

“The coming of Arik Air to Sierra Leone heralds another phase of relations between Nigeria and Sierra Leone . In the past, Nigeria gave us military support and helped to end civil war in our country even before United Nations came and this time they are giving us economic support,” he said.
He traced the commencement of flights by Arik as a national carrier in his country as a deal that started about 18 months ago and lauded the role played by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, whom he said facilitated the talks.
He stressed that there was need for African countries to fast track air link as a veritable tool for economic and social development.
In his remarks, Aviation Minister, Babatunde Omotoba , said that the Arik deal would encourage better relationship among West African countries and help to ease air movement in the region, lamenting that in the past it was difficult to connect flights from one state capital to another, sometimes forcing passengers from the region to fly to Europe to connect flight to another country in the region.
Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Johnson Arumemi Johnson, said he was delighted with the coming of the airline into Sierra Leone and noted that the absence of intra-African connections has stiffed trade and economic growth in the sub-region.


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