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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Recession: Arik requires N10bn to return to full operations in Nigeria

Arik Air, the largest Nigerian carrier taken over last week by the Federal Government would require N10bn to return to full and uninterrupted flight operations.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) which took over the management of the airline on behalf of the government said it discovered "deep rooted rot" at Arik Airlines.
The new management in a statement on Sunday said "The situation is so bad that only nine aircrafts out of the 30 in the fleet of the airlines is operational. 21 of them have either been grounded, gone for C-check in Europe among other forms of challenges.
"As if these problems are not enough, the airline does not have money to procure aviation fuel for the nine operational aircrafts because no dealer wants to sell aviation fuel to Arik if it is not on cash-and-carry basis. This also calls for public understanding because flight schedules may be realigned based on the nine aircrafts that are available, technically sound and ready for flight operation".
It was also discovered that Arik also owes its technical partners and also in perpetual default in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing squabbles with different business partners, which accounts for why 21 aircrafts is off the fleet for different reasons. 
All these problems in addition to huge staff salaries, which have remained unpaid for 11 months; vendors that supply different items to Arik Airlines that are also owed meant that Nigerians may have to tarry-a-while to allow the new management clean up the huge mess at the airline before Arik would finally resume uninterrupted flight.
The new Chief Executive Officer of Arik Airlines, Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, SAN however reassured Nigerians that these issues; though daunting, would be gradually resolved to enable Arik Airlines, which carries about 55% of the load in the country recover the 21 aircrafts. 
He maintained that the recent intervention was in the best interest of all stakeholders, the general public, workers, creditors and other aviation interest groups in the country.
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