By Kenneth Ehigiator
THE management of Arik Air Monday in Lagos unveiled a strategy that would make Nigerian airlines compete effectively on Lagos-Johannesburg route.
The airline spoke against the backdrop of recent exit of Virgin Nigeria Airways and Bellview Airlines on the route due to their inability to compete with South Africa Airways.
Managing Director of the airline, Mr. Jason Holt, who spoke at a briefing to herald Arik Airâ€™s operations to New York from Lagos and London Heathrow from Abuja, said the airline had been able to match South African Airways through adequate funding and products.
He said for any non-South African carrier to survive on the route, the airline must deploy these two factors.
On funding, Holt said Arik Air had pumped sufficient funds into the operation to remain competitive, adding that international financial institutions had been very helpful in this regard.
He said: â€œTo survive Johannesburg, you need funding and products. We are supported by major financial institutions in the world, and product is the key in airlinesâ€™ business, offering top of the range, state-of-the-art service.
â€œWe have taken the fight to South Africa Airways and we are beating them on everything from fare to product.Â If we get these two right (funding and product), we might just be on the way to surviving on that route,â€ he said.
He said the two previous Nigerian carriers that quit the route were not able to fight the South African Airways on these fronts, adding that the two factors remained the most effective way of competing on the route.
Jason said Arik Air was desirous of undergoing the International Operational safety Audit (IOSA) as soon as possible to enable it get into one of the worldâ€™s airline alliances.
He said with Arik Airâ€™s entry into a global alliance and its coverage of the entire country, it would be able to take its passengers from anywhere in the country to any destination across the world.
According to him, this is what will enhance the airlineâ€™s ability to distribute its passengers to any destination in the world.
He said the New York operation, which starts off November 29, 2009, was Nigeriaâ€™s way of reciprocating Delta Airlinesâ€™ operations into Lagos from the United States.