Sequel to the ruling of a London High Court that awarded damages worth $22 million against Azman Air Services Limited over a breach of contract with Tripple Seven Limited, Azman Air Services Limited has appealed to the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to intervene and stop the lessor, Triple Seven MSN 27251 Limited and Triple Seven (CIS) Limited, from seizing any of its aircraft.
Azman Air is seeking the intervention of the Federal Government so that the lessors would not seize any of its aircraft when being ferried overseas for maintenance because, with the court ruling, any aircraft owned by the airline could be seized anywhere in the world.
Azman, in the document, reminded the government that if the airline goes under, about 1,000 personnel employed by the Kano-based company could lose their jobs.
Background of the story
Tripple Seven is the registered owners of two Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft (MSN 27251 and MSN 27252) and on 20th June 2016, they entered into a five-year lease agreement on the two aircraft to Azman Air services.
Azman on its part intended to use the two aircraft to transport passengers from West Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages. In Nigeria, Hajj pilgrimages are thought to be very lucrative for local airlines.
Earlier on May 11, 2016, the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) had confirmed that Azman was approved to participate in the airlift of pilgrims to and from Saudi Arabia for the 2016 Hajj.
Meanwhile, this was not the only approval which was required in order to participate in the 2016 Hajj airlift; the approval of the Saudi authorities was also required. NAHCON on the 15th June 2016, sent a letter to Azman informing it that the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia (GACA) had excluded it from participation in the 2016 Hajj airlift due to its inability to meet Saudi economic, security and safety requirements.
Azman did not receive this letter until some hours after it had signed the lease agreements with Tripple Seven on 20th June 2016. The airline, however, sought to persuade GACA to rescind its decision and to approve Azman to participate in the airlift for the 2016 pilgrimage, but these attempts were not successful.
Tripple Seven tendered the two aircraft for delivery to Azman on 28th June 2016 and 4th July 2016 respectively. Azman, however, informed Tripple Seven that it was not in a position to take delivery of the two aircraft, because it was no longer able to participate in the 2016 Hajj airlift, which was the major reason for Azman’s entry into the lease agreements.
Triple seven reportedly terminated the lease agreements in accordance with the provisions of the lease agreements, the reason being Azman’s failure to accept delivery of the aircraft and to pay the first installment of the rent due under the lease agreements.
Tripple Seven then approached a court seeking damages for breach of the lease agreement.
Azman Air is one of the fastest growing privately owned Nigerian airlines and was founded in 2010 by business mogul, Abdulmunaf Yunusa Sarina. The airline company began its operations in 2014 with its first flight from Kano to Abuja and currently operates return flights domestically in the country.