By Louis Ibah
The new managers of Arik Air say they would require an injection of over N10 billion to effectively resuscitate the airline to sustain its normal schedule flight. A statement on Sunday said “the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has discovered deep rooted rot at Arik Airlines, which would require over N10billion to fix before the largest local carrier would resume full and uninterrupted flight operations to its regular routes across the country and beyond.”
“The situation is so bad that only nine aircraft 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 sale 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 aircraft that are available, technically sound and ready for flight operation,” the statement said.
It further quoted the new Chief Executive Officer of Arik Airlines, Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, as saying that “though the challenges are daunting, it would be gradually resolved to enable Arik Airlines, which carries about 55 per cent of the load in the country recover the 21 aircraft.”
According to Ukpebo, once all the aircraft are back to the fleet, Arik Airlines would within the shortest possible time regain its pride of place as a leader among the comity of airlines in Nigeria. He also reiterated the fact that the intervention at Arik Airlines on February 9, 2017 clearly underscores government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector, adding that the move also prevented a major disaster that would have befallen the airline.
Recall that Arik Air was last week Thursday taken over by the Federal Government through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) as a result of a whopping debt profile of over N300billion.
It was also discovered that Arik also owe 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.