Nairametrics| The sudden news that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had sacked the management of Arik Airlines and replaced it with a new one was met with apprehension in several quarters with some rumors claiming that the takeover was a ruse to set up a national carrier using the airline’s fleet.
However, during the briefing of members of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Managing Director of AMCON, Mr. Ahmed Kuru, finally gave reasons why the takeover was inevitable and for the good of the airline and its staff. These are 5 of the reasons he gave for the takeover.
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- Arik Airlines owes AMCON a whooping N167 billion contrary to earlier claims by the airline’s former management.
- In addition, Arik also owed Nigerian banks another N165 billion, while its foreign debts had hit $81 million.
- The airline is owing over 2,000 staff seven months’ salary arrears. “Arik Air is owing up to seven months salaries to workers. They have refused to pay salaries and also refused to ensure that their loans are repaid…The first thing we did when we moved in was to address the payment of salaries of staff. Remember some of them were owed for up to seven months. The employees of the airline are very pleased with what we have done” Kuru said.
- He also revealed that the airline, despite having 30 aircraft, only operates 10. “We discovered that out of the 30 aircraft of the airline, only about 10 were functional. Some of them were not in Nigeria.” noted Kuru.
- The inability of the airline to also meet its financial obligations was exposed by the AMCON boss. “Despite all the things we have done to ensure that Arik Air stays in business. But they have not done their part in meeting their own obligations . They have refused to meet all their obligations, even the insurance payment. They did not even have money to buy aviation fuel. “What they did was that, they collected money from passengers and then quickly use the monies realized to buy fuel. This is how they have been running the place and these were some of the things we met on ground.
Further shedding light on the situation, Kuru debunked rumors of the FG desiring to use Arik’s fleet for a national carrier, saying the airline’s situation was too complicated for the FG to handle. “The issue of converting the airline to a national carrier is not on the table. Arik is too complicated to make a national carrier. The total asset worth of the airline right now is less than N40 billion. Government does not have plans to do that. The interest of government is that, we must continue to fly and people must work. They have about over 2,000 staff.”[/read]