As from February 12, this month, the management of Arik Air under the receivership of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has said that it would resume its Garden City Express flights, which would again make it possible for its customers to fly direct to the heart of Port Harcourt City from Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2, Lagos managed by Bi- Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
When the flights begin, the airline in a statement stated that it will depart from MMA2 Ikeja, Lagos and arrive the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Base in Port Harcourt, where passengers would experience only a 10-minutes’ drive from NAF to town as against the one hour passengers spend on the road from the Port Harcourt airport. This development may have indicated the end of the dispute between Bi-Courtney and Arik Air.
It would be recalled however that when the terminal was commissioned way back in the month of May 7, 2007, Arik Air (then not under AMCON management) refused to operate from MMA2. Their claim at the time was that MMA2 does not have enough space to contain the number of aircraft in its fleet about 30. There was also some other disagreement between the parties that has financial colourations.
Arik Air, which is one of the leading domestic carriers in the country has operated from the domestic wing of the airport also known as the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), which is managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The new development is possible because Arik Air maintains a well-resourced terminal at NAF Base Port Harcourt meaning that its passengers are re-assured of premium customer service delivery on the route according to the Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu.
The Arik boss added, “We are delighted to offer this premium service to our customers who are time conscious and desire to cut the long drive from Omagwa to Port Harcourt City. This service will offer a great travel experience with our dedicated terminal at NAF Base Port Harcourt and efficient flight crew.”