Arik Air on Thursday said it has not suspended flight operations to Accra, Ghana.
But, Aero and Dana Airlines have temporarily suspended operations on the route, for reasons industry hinted borders on limited access to foreign exchange, non-availability of aircraft to service the route and other factors.
Arik Air’s Chief Commercial Officer, Suraj Sundaram, said the airline is still operating between the Lagos-Accra and Abuja-Accra routes and is not contemplating suspension of flights as claimed by a section of the media.
“We have been consistent since commencing the Accra route in January 2008 and we remain the largest airline on that route offering the largest capacity and choice of flights not only connecting Nigeria to Ghana but also onwards from Ghana to other West African nations,” Sundaram said.
Arik Air started Accra operations with one daily fight and the airline has scaled this operation over the years into five flights out of Lagos and Abuja.
Arik Air is the first African carrier to have truly established a ‘scissors hub’ at Accra airport, meaning that flights from Lagos and Abuja arrive in Accra within a few minutes of each other, and then depart onwards to other West African cities from Accra nonstop.
“This enables both Northern and Southern Nigeria to be connected to destinations like Banjul and Dakar conveniently via Accra in both directions.
“In addition, Arik Air is the largest international airline out of Ghana operating to six cities nonstop from Accra.
These include Freetown, Banjul, Dakar, Monrovia, Lagos and Abuja.
“We will continue to invest in and further expand the Ghanaian market based on the strong support and patronage, we have received from the people of Ghana over the past eight years,” Arik Air’s Chief Commercial Officer added.
A source close to Aero said the decision to temporarily stop operating in Accra is part of restructuring by the airline.
He said: “The decision to stop flights into Accra is not directly linked to foreign exchange difficultly.
“Aero is restructuring, the will have impact on many areas of flight operations.”
Spokesman of DANA Air, Kingsley Ezenwa said the decision to stop Accra flight operations is temporal.