Nigeria's Arik Air (W3, Lagos) is planning to reopen flights from its Lagos base to New York, having stopped the route in 2017.

Chief Executive Officer Roy Ilegbodu told the Nigerian national newspaper This Day that the connection, together with other international routes, would open but that the process of resuming New York was complex due to outstanding debts left behind by the past management.

“We plan to recommence modalities for our New York and other international operations sooner or later. Sometime next year we will commence the process, we will look at it critically because the process is complex. This process is not easy, it would take at least a year or 18 months to get back to that stage,” he said.

“It will happen, but it will not happen soon as the past management left a lot of debt and they need to be addressed before we fly to other routes internationally.”

A privately owned airline founded in 2006, Arik Air has focused on the domestic Nigerian and regional West African market since the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) took control in February 2017 as a result of debts of over NGN300 billion Nigerian naira (USD830 million).

Ilegbodu started as CEO at the same time and international routes to New York JFK, London Heathrow, and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, operated using A340-500s and A330-200s, were immediately dropped.

Arik Air has a narrowbody and turboprop fleet that consists of nine B737-700s and four B737-800s as well as nine Bombardier Aerospace aircraft, namely one CRJ1000, four CRJ900s and four Dash 8-400s. The A340s stopped operating for Arik in 2015 and the A330s were retired shortly after long-haul operations were suspended in 2017.