Air Arola is the flag carrier of the Republic of Arola and a subsidiary of the state-owned Arogo Holdings. The airline began operations on 24th November 1958, just half a year after Arola gained independence.
Air Arola was founded on 24th November 1958 as Arolan Airways in Kelvia, Arola by former BOAC pilots based in the country, who sacrified their remaining budget to create Arola's first airline since independence. Just a few days later, then-Arolan president Samuel Salo was told about the pilots' plan to form an airline in Arola and agreed to allow them to start operations, as well as giving them a check of $100,000 Arolan dollars to start the airline. Both Finnair and Scandinavian Airlines also reached out to fund for Arolan Airways' operations.
The first Arolan Airways aircraft purchased were 5 Douglas DC-6 airliners, one of the last in production at Douglas. The first DC-6 flight from Kasala to Uilo was performed on 24th December 1958, which ferried passengers meeting their relatives for Christmas the next day. The flight proved to be a success, and the DC-6s eventually formed the backbone of their fleet.
In the 1960s, Arolan Airways began jet operations with the acquisition of Douglas DC-8 and Douglas DC-9 aircraft, which allowed them to expand further outward to the United Kingdom and the Americas. At this point, Arolan Airways also adopted a navy blue over white cheatline livery, with a fleur-de-lis on the tail and the Arolan Airways symbol on the nose.
Further fleet expansion continued in the next decade, as Arolan Airways began to purchase McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft for flights to South Africa. Arolan Airways also moved from its original hub at Kelvia Korvola Airport to the newly opened Kelvia Kasala International Airport upon Kasala’s opening in 1973. In April 1975, Arolan Airways was sold to the state-owned AROGO (now Arogo Holdings).
Arolan Airways continued to enjoy a fleet and destination growth, as well as some partnership with China Airlines since Arola and Taiwan had good relations. In 1985, Arolan Airways purchased Boeing 757 aircraft for European routes and replaced their DC-8 fleet with Boeing 767 aircraft acquired from China Airlines at the end of the 1980s.
On 14th June 1991, Arolan Airways announced an improvement to their outdated brand identity and renamed themselves as Air Arola, with a new logo and livery inspired by the Arolan flag and the Arolan Airways symbol. Air Arola became the launch customers for both the MD-11 and Boeing 777 aircraft, placing 22 orders for each type of aircraft, adding up to 44. Air Arola also purchased its first Airbus aircraft, the Airbus A319, in 1997.
On 1st September 2001, Air Arola officially joined the SkyTeam airline alliance complete with a minor overhaul of Air Arola's 1991 identity. Only 10 days later, Air Arola was forced to scale back its American operations temporarily due to the September 11 attacks.
In 2002, Air Arola was awarded the World’s Best Airline award by Skytrax for the first time. Air Arola would not get awarded again until 2019.
In July 2008, Air Arola began selling tickets for their special 50th anniversary flight which would fly from Kasala to Sydney, Australia using Airbus A340-600 aircraft. The flight departed as AR158 on 24th November 2008 at Kasala and arrived at Sydney the next day. Even though the flight was a success, Air Arola rejected flying a non-stop flight from Kelvia to Sydney, citing fuel costs as a reason. As of October 2021, the longest regularly scheduled Air Arola flight are flights AR183 and AR184 between Kelvia and Singapore.
In November 2012, Air Arola once again revamped their identity, bearing a China Airlines-esque livery while keeping the Arolan Airways symbol in their new logo. It also placed orders for the Airbus A350 aircraft in 2017, replacing their previous plans for A330neo aircraft. The first A350-900 flight was held on 27th May 2018 between Kelvia and London Gatwick, while the A350-1000 commenced revenue service on April 21, 2021.
On Arolan Day 2018, Air Arola slightly modified their logo by only keeping the outlines of the Arolan Airways symbol, the first time the symbol has ever been displayed in this manner. The 2012 livery still remains the same even with the change. Air Arola purchased Airbus A220 aircraft in January 2020, with 25 aircraft allocated to Air Arola while the remaining 30 have been allocated to Air Arola Shuttle.
Despite Air Arola’s rapid expansion in the 2010s, all flights and planes have been grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Arola.
Main article: List of Air Arola destinations
Air Arola codeshares with the following airlines:
- Air Europa
- Air France
- China Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Kenya Airways
- Korean Air
- Lechutan Airlines
- Salerian Airways
- Southwest Airlines
As of October 2021, Air Arola's fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A220-100||-||16||-||-||13||84||109||Deliveries deferred to 2022.|
|Airbus A220-300||-||9||-||-||24||105||129||Deliveries deferred to 2022.|
|Airbus A350-1000||3||7||31||31||42||226||330||All remaining deliveries deferred to 2022.|
|Boeing 767-400ER||4||-||19||19||25||180||243||To be replaced by Airbus A350-1000.|
Air Arola has previously operated the following equipment:
- Airbus A340-300 (1999-2010, replaced by B777-300ER)
- Airbus A340-600 (2003-2018, replaced by A350-900)
- Boeing 747-100 (1978-1991, replaced by B747-400)
- Boeing 747-400 (1990-2010, replaced by B777-300ER)
- Boeing 757-200 (1985-1998, replaced by A320 family)
- Boeing 767-200 (1989-2002, acquired from China Airlines, replaced by B767-400ER)
- Boeing 777-200 (1995-2010, replaced by B777-300ER)
- Douglas DC-6 (1958–1967, replaced by DC-9)
- Douglas DC-8 (1962-1990)
- Douglas DC-9 (1966-1999, replaced by A320 family)
- McDonnell Douglas DC-10 (1974-1993, replaced by MD-11)
- McDonnell Douglas MD-11 (1992-2000, replaced by B777-300ER)
Air Arola currently offers four types of passenger classes, Coach, Coach Premium, Suite and Suite Deluxe classes.
The current design and lineup of Air Arola's cabin classes were introduced in May 2018 on A350-900 aircraft, and has since rolled out to all aircraft except for the B767-400ER.
Suite Deluxe class, formerly First Class until 2012, is the flagship cabin class of Air Arola. Suite Deluxe is currently available on Airbus A350, Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft only. Every paying passenger on this class are allocated with their own fully enclosed suite with a frosted glass sliding door, which come with a reclinable bed, a 32-inch touchscreen TV, two cup holders and a tray table which can be automatically controlled.
Suite Deluxe passengers are also entitled to their own shared showers on Boeing 767 aircraft and private showers on A350 and B777 aircraft. On the A350-1000 and B777-300ER, there are also “Roomette” private rooms for daytime use, installed with a mini-bar, two silk seats that can recline up to 75 degrees, four cup holders and a 26-inch remote-controlled TV.
Suite class, formerly Business Class or Premium Business Class until 2012, feature seats that can recline up to 70 degrees and into beds when requested. Suite seats have 60" of pitch, a privacy partition, two cup holders, a medium-size tray table, two IKEA-made reading lights, USB ports and a wide selection of entertainment and live TV on a 24-inch TV.
Coach Premium class, formerly Premium Economy Class until 2012, are available on all medium-haul and long-haul aircraft. Coach Premium is a step up from Coach class, as it has an increased pitch of 40" compared to Coach's 30" pitch, as well as access to complimentary hot towels, blankets, blindfolds, neck-rests and an optional Icelandic canned mountain air.
Coach class, formerly Economy Class until 2012, is available on all Air Arola aircraft, with seats that recline up to 45 degrees and 20-inch LCD TVs. All aircraft except for the upcoming A220 feature AVOD and live TV on board.
On domestic Air Arola flights that are less than 2 hours long (applies to all Air Arola Shuttle flights), a complimentary bottled water and caramel cream cheese bagel provided exclusively by Freeway Nine Bagels is offered before takeoff.
On all European flights that are more than 2 hours long, all non-alcoholic beverages are offered for free, while food items and alcoholic drinks can be purchased.
For Suite and Suite Deluxe classes, passengers are offered a full-course meal which are of Nordic cuisine, which include creamy salmon soup with noodles or rice, Baltic herring and Arolan steak. Suite Deluxe passengers are also given the option of Western and Eastern cuisine, as well as Freeway Nine Bagels' bagels for breakfast. Recently, Air Arola has also started serving world-class kiviak, a Greenland delicacy, to Suite Deluxe passengers, which was well-received by passengers and critics.
Coach and Coach Premium passengers are served with bagels for breakfast and two hot meals for lunch and dinner, depending on the duration and destination of the flight.
Air Arola is noted for its simplistic and revolutionary check-in process, where passengers can enter check-in via the check-in counters or self-service kiosks where passengers can check their baggage and also pre-order meals for their flight.
Air Arola's frequent flyer program is named Territory, which awards miles based on the distance travelled. Territory flyers can redeem for cabin class upgrades, free tickets and boarding and check-in benefits.
Air Arola's lounges are branded as Territory lounges, named after the frequent flyer program. The first lounge branded as such opened in 2004 at Terminal 2 of Kelvia Kasala International Airport, which closed down four years later and replaced by a new one in Terminal 3.
Territory lounges feature a tavern, an all-you-can-eat buffet section for Suite and Suite Deluxe passengers, a coffee machine, sleeping pods, showers, saunas and spa services.