Arik Air – Lagos is considering going public next year with Goldmann Sachs and Nigeria-based investment banking firm Vetiva Capital Management Ltd recruited as IPO advisers. Local industry sources told Nigeria’s ThisDay newspaper that research is still within their initial phases without any definitive decision taken confirmed.
Abuja has indicated its willingness to appoint Arik Air Nigeria’s national carrier should it open up its shareholding to the public. The move would then confer Arik Air with preferential rights and/or privileges for international operations – traffic rights particularly.
Founded by Nigerian businessman Michael Arumemi-Ikhide in 2005, Arik Air currently operates a fleet of twenty-four aircraft – two A330-200s, nine B737-700s, four B737-800s, one CRJ-1000, four CRJ-900s, and 4 Dash 8-400s – on flights throughout Nigeria or even Angola, Benin, Cameroon, Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates, the U.S, and the United Kingdom.
Considering that the collapse of Nigeria Airways over a decade ago, Nigeria has seen a number of carriers attempt and hold the mantle of national carrier, the last of which was Virgin Nigeria (VK,Lagos) (later Air Nigeria (VK, Lagos) following Virgin Atlantic’s withdrawal from the project).
As previously reported, Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had considered consolidating most state-owned carrier Aero Contractors (NG, Lagos) using the remains of Air Nigeria to form a new national airline – Nigerian Eagle (NG, Lagos) – in 2013. The blueprint, however, still did not materialize after government didn’t reach a legal contract with Aero Contractors’ 40% shareholder, the Ibru family, over funding and equity holdings in Nigerian Eagle.