Saturday, March 17, 2012

Arik Air, Nigeria’s major airline, suspends its Abuja-London routes over landing slot dispute

LAGOS, Nigeria — Arik Air Ltd., the major air carrier in Nigeria, says it will suspend flights from the oil-rich nation’s capital to London over an ongoing dispute with the United Kingdom over landing slots.

In a statement Friday, the carrier said its Abuja-London route would stop over its lack of slots at London’s Heathrow Airport.

The Nigerian airline has said a government agreement entitles local airlines to 21 slots at U.K. airports, but the airline refused to pay increased rates for some Heathrow slots, which are administered by a private company.

The company suspended flights for some time last year, sparking a dispute between Nigeria and the U.K. that saw British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways fined $235 million over alleged inflated ticket prices. Those fines have since been dropped.

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