Arik Air's A340-500 will make the six-hour flight to Abuja from Johannesburg
By Tunde Sulaiman
Nigeria’s Super Eagles will arrive Abuja at 1pm Tuesday aboard a special flight laid on by the nation’s largest airline, Arik Air, THISDAY can exclusively reveal.
In formed sources told THISDAY over the weekend that the team will deliberately kept in South Africa 24 hours after the curtains fell on the 29th edition of the African Cup of Nations because President Goodluck Jonathan wants to personally be on ground to receive the victorious players, who did the nation proud by beating the Stallions of Burkina Faso 1-0 in the final.
Jonathan, who had hinted that he would be physically present at the National Stadium, Johannesburg to cheer the Eagles on, was unable to keep his promise due to some pressing diplomatic issues which took him to Paris and London.
And although the President tried to make up for his absence in South Africa by sending a high powered delegation led by Senate President, David Mark to represent him, it is clear that he wants to make it up with the team by laying on a ‘presidential welcome’ for the Eagles.
According to sources, in keeping with the mood of the occasion, Arik Air will be using one of its flagship planes, the Airbus A340-500 to convey the players and officials in comfort the six hours to the nation’s capital, Abuja.
All things being equal, the 237-seater plane will leave Johannesburg’s Oliver Tambo International Airport at 9am South African time (8am Nig time) and is expected to touch down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport at about 1pm Tuesday.