Lagos — Atwo-man team from aircraft manufacturing giant, Airbus met with the Arik Air management team at the airline's corporate head office last Wednesday.
The Airbus team which was made up of David Dufrenois, Vice President Sales, North and West Africa; and John Parkinson, Area Sales Director, Customer Affairs was at Arik Air to do a presentation on the A350 XWB and A380 aircraft.
The Arik team was led by the chairman, Sir J.I. Arumemi-Johnson and in attendance were the Managing Director, Michael McTighe and other top management team while the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Director General, Dr. Harold Demuren was represented at the presentation by the agency's Director of Air Worthiness, Engineer Patrick Ekunwe.
The presentation by the Airbus team dealt on the Airbus family, the capabilities and basic advantages of the aircraft over its competitors. Dufrenois said Airbus is interested in doing business with Arik Air.
He stressed that the aircraft manufacturer will have to study the suitability of the Murtala Muhammed International Air-port, Ikeja to accommodate the A380.
Airbus will, after the preliminary meeting, send a team of experts to Nigeria to look at facilities such as the runway, terminal building, etc, at the MMIA
Arik Chairman stated that the airline is interested in doing business with Airbus provided the pricing meets Arik's requirements. He added that Arik is looking at the area of Airbus assisting the airline on routes world wide routes.
Commenting on the meeting later, Sir Arumemi-Johnson said there has been no commitment yet on the part of Arik Air, but added that after further discussions, a decision will be made on whether to purchase the Boeing 747-800 or A380 for the airline's planned large aircraft requirements.
Both British Airways and Emirates airlines are among airlines which have already ordered for the A380 and Arik Chairman said; "Nigerians also deserve a big and comfortable aircraft that will make their travel stress free. In choosing which aircraft to purchase, we will consider price, range, fuel burn and passenger comfort, among others.
Arik Air in its fleet renewal, plan bought four brand new Bombardier CRJ 900 and two brand new Boeing 737-700 aircraft. An additional two Boeing 737-700 which will ply the regional routes will join the Arik fleet next month. The airline has also placed an order for three brand new CRJ900 New Generation aircraft.
Also, the airline recently placed orders for new Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner.
The Arik super hanger model which was unveiled last March and due to begin construction May 2008 will have the capacity to handle big aircraft like the A380 when completed in autumn 2009.