The Managing Director of Arik Air, Mr Chris Ndulue, at the anniversary press conference, said the airline which started operations nine years ago with four aircraft now has 28 in its fleet and will be taking delivery of six new aircraft comprising two Q400 aircraft, two CRJ-1000 as well as two A330-200 for long haul routes.
Ndulue explained that the airline now fly to 19 destinations in Nigeria and 12 destinations outside the country and have flown 17.3 million passengers since it started operations.
The Arik MD said with staff strength of 3000, that it will extend its operations to Abidjan- Dakar, Senegal, Libreville, Garbon in the first quarter of 2016.
Mr Ndulue also announced that the airline will, in 2016, commence daily flights operations into John F Kennedy, New York as well as commence flights to Rome and Jo’borg hence the acquisition of wide bodied air plane.
On the insurance policy, the Arik boss said the new air travel insurance enables a passenger to enjoy a customised domestic travel insurance on Arik Air with only N1, 000.00.
According to him, all a passenger needs do is to buy an Arik Air ticket to any destination in Nigeria online at www.arikair.com, then buy an air travel insurance for just N1,000.00 using Verve Card, MasterCard or Visa Card.
The insurance policy provides cover against personal accident (up to N1, 000,000.00) resulting in death, permanent disability or bodily injury within 90 days of the occurrence of the accident. The cover is from airport to airport whilst aboard Arik Air.
The benefits also include: flight cancellation or delays of more than eight hours, N20,000.00; emergency medical expenses, up to N50,000.00; mishandled/missing baggage (inconvenience), up to N20,000.00; and damage to baggage, up to N20,000.00 per passenger.
This insurance is not the same as the normal cover guaranteed for all passengers in case of air crash as provided for by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulation.
The air travel insurance is provided by Old Mutual Insurance Company in partnership with Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers.
Commenting on the air travel insurance, Arik Air’s Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue said:
“We want to take the passengers’ flying experience to a new level and that informs the decision to introduce the air travel insurance. The interests covered by the policy is quite unique and totally different from the customary cover provided for all passengers in case of an air crash”.
Also commenting on whether this additional scheme by passengers would have any impact on what is stipulated by law according to the Passengers Bill of Rights, Ndulue said that the insurance with their partners is an add on scheme and will only compliment what is already stipulated by law.
“It is add on, an addition to the Passenger Bill of Rights and it does not subtract it in any way. This policy bought by travellers has not in any way eliminated the function of the PBR which is still there but the PBR itself has not eliminated the problems that arise from risk and does not state that anyone who has had problems has smiled in the long run.”
Also speaking Managing Director of Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers Limited, Funmi Babington Ashaye gave benefits of the policy and according to her policies cover personal accidents ranging to damage of baggage as well as emergency medical expenses.
She said, “we have realised the gap in aviation in terms of insurance claims and we have decided there is need for an add on cover for insuring public to ensure they appreciate the value of insurance.”
Both Arik management and Old Mutual with Risk Analysts commenced to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to cement the partnership.