Arik Air made history yesterday morning when it touched down at the JFK International Airport in New York, and this makes the airline the first Nigerian carrier to operate flights into the U.S. in the last decade.
The liquidated national carrier, Nigeria Airways, stopped operations into New York at the peak of its management crisis, which led to its eventual collapse.
The historic flight had earlier been trailed by fears of reports of the U.S. governmentâ€™s withdrawal of landing rights, but such fears were quickly nipped in the bud by the airline management.
Although flight Ws 107 was not heralded by the usual funfair by officials of the Ministry of Aviation and its parastatals, the new Airbus A340-500 wide-bodied aircraft set off with ecstatic passengers from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos on Sunday night after all necessary immigration and Customsâ€™ formalities had been concluded.
Anxious and expectant Nigerians in New York were on ground at JFK International Airport in New York to see a Nigerian carrier on ground in the U.S.
By the time the aircraft touched down at 5:50am New York time, the joy of Nigerians who had come to receive their loved ones knew no bound.