Lagos — Barely four days after a Liberian, Patrick Sawyer infected with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) died in an undisclosed hospital in Lagos, Arik Air, the only airline that operates flights into Liberia has suspended its flights.
This may not be on connected with outbreak of EVD in the country that has claimed many lives.
This was made known by the airline in a statement yesterday.
The airline said that the development is a precautionary measure to save the lives of Nigerians
"As a result of the first Ebola virus death officially confirmed in Lagos, and involving a Liberian national who flew on a foreign (Non-Nigerian) regional based airline from Monrovia via Lome (Togo) into the city last week, Arik Air will be suspending operations into Monrovia (Liberia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone) effective July 28, 2014. The suspension will be in force until further notice. This decision is a pre-cautionary measure aimed at safeguarding the precious lives of Nigerians" the statement said.
Arik Air,the statement said is taking this important step as a concerned corporate citizen bearing the interest of Nigerians at heart.
"We acknowledge the steps that the Federal Government of Nigeria is currently undertaking to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus; however, we feel especially compelled to take the business decision to immediately suspend flight services into the two Ebola affected countries due to our interest in the well being of Nigerians."Arik Air management said.
Arik added that at the early stages of the contagion's development across West Africa, the Gambian Government took the proactive decision to stop airlines (including Arik Air) from bringing inbound passengers from Monrovia, Conakry (Guinea) and Freetown into Banjul.
The airline stated that in line with the actions taken by the Gambian Government, it is are confident that the Federal Government of Nigeria shall take all steps necessary to control and curtail the spread of the virus.
According to Arik management, "We humbly suggest that as a first step, all inbound flights into Nigeria which originate from any of the Ebola affected countries, be immediately suspended. At Arik Air, our core vision and purpose is, "to provide world-class experiences and services which are safe, reliable and continually contribute towards both improved user quality of life as well as the elevation of Nigeria's global standing"
The airline assured its passengers and indeed Nigerian) that its continued safety shall always be at the forefront of all business decisions taken by the airline
Arik Air commenced scheduled flights between Lagos and Monrovia, Liberia on Thursday, August 12, 2010 and it will operate via Accra, Ghana.
Apart from Liberia, Arik Air also the only Nigerian airline operating into Freetown, the Sierra Leonean capital, another country in the West Africa sub region, where EVD has claimed a lot of lives
The airline also flies to Cotonou, Accra, Freetown, Banjul and Dakar
Arik Air operates from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos to Roberts International Airport in Monrovia via Accra twice a week; Mondays and Thursdays.