Arik Air Resumes Maiduguri Flights
Arik Air on Tuesday resumed flight operations to Maiduguri, after suspending flights to the North Eastern city since 2013 due to insecurity.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the airline’s Boeing 737-700 aircraft landed at the Maiduguri International Airport at 11.06 am and was received by aviation personnel and other dignitaries.
Speaking to newsmen, the Vice President, Northern Operations of the airline, Mr Hamza Bukar, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for restoring peace to the North East region.
Bukar recalled that the airline suspended operations to Maiduguri in December 2013 following the attack on the airport by Boko Haram insurgents.
“We are here in line with the achievements by the government of the day. They have done a very good job.
“Security in Borno State has been restored. The state is now in the eyes of the international community and that is why Arik wants to be a part of the success story.
“We want to complement efforts made by the government and we are here to reclaim our position as the pacesetter of aviation in West Africa,’’ he said.
Bukar said flights to Maiduguri via Abuja would operate three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the possibility of increasing frequency in the coming weeks.
The Airport Manager, Maiduguri International Airport, Mr Mohammed Saidu, in his remark, said that security had improved in the state which led to the return of commercial flight operations.
Saidu said Medview Airline and Azman Air were already operating flights in and out of Maiduguri, noting that the return of Arik Air would give passengers more options.
Meanwhile, some officials of Arik Air visited the Teachers Village Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp and donated relief items to them.
The items, which included foodstuffs, clothes and sanitary products, were received by the camp officials on behalf of the displaced persons from Ngala and Kukawa Local Government Areas of the state.
Speaking at the ceremony, Bukar said the gesture was aimed at supporting the efforts of the Federal and Borno State Governments in ameliorating the plights of those displaced by insurgency.
“This is one of the numerous corporate social responsibilities of the company to the state. It is our time to give back to the society,’’ he said.
The vice president congratulated the governor and the people of the state for the peace achieved and prayed for its sustenance.
Responding, the Camp Coordinator, Mr Ali Idi thanked airline for providing assistance to the camp which was accommodating 7,793 IDPs.
“For somebody to come all the way from Lagos to come and see the plights of the IDPs, it is commendable, and we thank Allah and the management,’’ Idi said.
He noted that the needs of the displaced persons were numerous and appealed to other corporate organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations to support them.