Computer mock up of what Arik Air's first Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental will look like. Photo from Boeing. Click for much larger.
Let’s all welcome Arik Air to the exclusive “We Have a Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental on Order” club. The Nigerian-based airline announced earlier in the week that they have placed orders for two of the new 747-8I aircraft.
“Air travel within the region continues to grow at a rapid pace and we must prepare our fleet to accommodate that growth,” said Sir JIA Arumemi-Johnson, owner and chairman of Arik Air. “Boeing’s new 747-8 fits perfectly into our long-term planning… As we look into the future, the 747-8 Intercontinental is a must have for Arik Air.”
The airline was founded in 2002, but did not start operations until October 2006. At first, the airline only had two new Bombardier CRJ-900s, but today they have a fleet of 23 aircraft including the A340-500, Boeing 737 (-700 and -800), CRJ-900, Q400 and Hawker 800. The airline currently operates 22 domestic, six regional and three long-haul international flights.
Arik is using their larger A340-500s on routes to London and New York. It is likely that the airline is looking to increase capacity to the US and Europe and possibly enter into China.
Sometimes a livery will look good on a smaller aircraft, but when scaled up, it loses its beauty. Luckily for Arik, they have a livery that works on the smaller CRJ-900 to the much larger 747-8I. Once they take delivery of their first 747-8I, I pretty sure this will be the largest aircraft in the world that will sport the color pink (not fully sure, can you prove me wrong?).
There are currently four airlines that have announced orders for the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental: Lufthansa, Korean Air, Air China and Arik Air. There are an additional nine private Boeing Business Jet 747-8I’s on order as well.