Arik Air has got the European Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) Third Country Operators (TCO) authorisation to fly into any European Union (EU) country.
With the authorization, the airline has thus become one of the 590 global airline operators that successfully completed the stringent certification process before the deadline of November 26, 2016 given by EASA.
Under the new rule, the “EASA TCO” approval is a single safety authorisation valid in all EASA member states and the outlying territories.
Commenting on development, Arik Air’s executive vice president, Mr. Chris Ndulue said the certification “is a further testament to the airline’s high maintenance, security, safety and operational standards.”
“This certification is a testimony of our commitment as a quality airline, consistently adhering and operating to international safety and operational standards.
“Arik Air is the only Nigerian airline to get the authorisation which is a requirement for all non-European airline operators to fly into (EU) countries,” he said.
In the past, airline operators were required to apply for operating permits from each European country.
But EASA came up with the new requirements in 2014 stipulating that any airline operator from outside the EU and flying into the EU (states) must fulfill stringent safety, security, quality and operational requirements and comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards by November 26, 2016 as the deadline to complete this audit for authorisation.
The stringent and rigorous audit involved EASA scrutinizing the operational procedures and documentation of the airline to assess its operational capabilities.
Over 700 non-EU airline operators applied for this certification when the new requirement was introduced in 2014.
After the audit, EASA approved only 590 operators including Arik Air as the only airline from Nigeria as well as West and Central African regions.
Arik Air is also the only Nigerian carrier to have received the Part 129 approval from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which enables the airline to operate a Nigerian-registered aircraft to the USA.
Prior to the EASA certification, the airline had successfully concluded the stringent International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification for four consecutive times, with the most recent certification obtained in October 2016.
The 2016 audit and the 2014 edition were both cleared without any findings.
“This achievement has also earned Arik Air, EIOSA (Enhanced IATA Operational Safety Audit) status, making it the only airline in the West and Central African regions to have such certification.
“Arik Air is committed to ensuring safety and security of its passengers, staff and assets and will continue to invest in upholding its ten year safety track record and raising the bar for safety standards in the region,” said Ndulue.