Leone Airways (Freetown) is set to start operations from June 1 with tentative flights to be offered from Freetown to London Gatwick. Once the airline has become viable, operations will then spread to encompass domestic and regional flights. Formed in 2011 out of a partnership between Arik Air (W3, Lagos) and the Sierra Leone government, the new national carrier will rely on Arik to initially provide it with both aircraft and technical skills. Since 2009, Arik has been Sierra Leone's "designated carrier" thereby allowing it to ply the lucrative Sierra Leone - United Kingdom route. According to The African Aviation Tribune, Leone Airways marks Arik's first close collaboration in West Africa with Air Côte d'Ivoire (HF, Abidjan) also looking to make use of the airline's expertise in expanding its West African operations.