By Lawani Mikairu
ASSET Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has scaled down flight operations of Arik Air to less than 30 percent. This is just as international creditors to the airline are set to sue Federal Government over the take-over of the airline.
Vanguard check reveals that the airline, which at peak periods used to operate 120 flights a day now operates about 15 flights, with very low load factor. Also, out of the 28 operating aircraft fleet, only eight are now in operation, which include two Bombardier, CRJ 900, one Bombardier Q400 and five Boeing 737. The Q400 is in a dedicated service with Chevron, so the airline has in essence seven operating aircraft.
Immediately after AMCON took over the company, it suspended the international operations of the airline and the lean fleet size has also forced it to cut back its domestic and regional operations.
Meanwhile, a reliable source close to the airline who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard that; ‘’International financiers and other creditors of the airline have concluded plans to sue the Federal Government after 30 days of AMCON management of the airline.”
The source further revealed that the creditors are harmonizing their briefs and putting their resources together to institute a unified suit against the government for the airline’s failure to honour its international obligations.
There are still pending issues involving workers’ salaries, as those who were owed two months salary (December and January) before the February 8, 2017 take-over were paid January salary and told that their December salary should be paid by the former management. This was revealed by a staff who does not want to be named.
Cabin crew personnel whose November flight allowances were supposed to be paid with December basic salary are said to be facing similar fate.