Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has given the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the management of Arik Air Group two weeks to resolve all issues relating to indebtedness between the respective organizations.
Sirika gave this directive yesterday, when he met with with the management of Arik Air in his office.
The Minister said the issue of alleged indebtedness by Arik Air that has brought disagreements with some trade unions within the regulatory agencies was highly regrettable.
He said while government will not condone lawlessness within the industry, all airline operators must conform to industry rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, Managing Director of Arik, Chris Ndulue has debunked FAAN’s claim that the airline is owing the agency N12.5 billion, the alleged indebtedness workers in the aviation industry used as an excuse to shut down the airline’s operation.
Ndulue, who expressed surprise at FAAN’s claim of indebtedness, showed a letter dated February this year from the agency to Arik where the regulator acknowledged that the airline had paid N11.4 billion.
The Arik boss accused the agency of not having regard for the rule of law and the Judiciary where it had two years ago instituted a case against the airline over the same alleged case of indebtedness.
The media parley was attended by the Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Joseph Arumeni-Okhide and top management team of the airline.
Last Wednesday, workers in the aviation industry, under the umbrella of the National Union of Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), had grounded operations at the Lagos headquarters of Arik Air over a N12.5 billion debt allegedly owed the FAAN.