Arik Air (W3, Lagos) has announced that it operated the first Nigerian-registered commercial aircraft to the United States in two decades last month when one of its two A330-200s, 5N-JID (cn 927), flew from Lagos to New York JFK.

According to the carrier, the milestone was the result of three years of preparation during which time, the airline secured both Part 129 and Extended Range Twin Operations (ETOPS) approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Arik Air uses its fleet of A330s on flights from Lagos to Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, London Heathrow and New York JFK.

Despite a decree issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in October last year stating that no Nigerian carrier, whether scheduled or charter, will be able to wet-lease foreign aircraft for the purposes of commercial operations for periods longer than six months, Arik Air's two wet-leased Hi Fly (5K, Beja) A340-500s, CS-TFW (c/n 910) & CS-TFX (c/n 912), have yet to be transferred to the Nigerian registry.