A new Manager has been appointed by the federal government in person of Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert under the receivership of Oluseye Opasanya, SAN.He is to oversee and manage the operations of the Airline.
A few days ago, PageOne reported a heart breaking condition faced by passengers of Arik Air one of Nigeria’s national carrier on February 8, when it temporarily suspended its flight operations to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route have been taken to France for C check at the same time. Arik Air has been in the eye of the storm for many years over its epileptic services and unreliable operations.
With the turbulent situation faced by the management of the Airline, the federal government has decided to intervene in its operation by taking charge of its activities and managerial responsibilities before it finally collapse.
According to a report by Sundiatapost, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, (AMCON), in a statement from its Corporate Communications Department on Wednesday, said “We assure all stakeholders that the intervention is in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other aviation interest groups.”
Explaining the rationale for the latest intervention in Arik Airlines, Senator Hadi Siriki, minister of State for Aviation, said, “We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilise the operations of the airline. This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalise the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”
The minister who further pledged that the federal ministry of Aviation would support the new management of the strategic carrier added that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there would be no undue disruption on Arik’s regular business operations or activities of other stakeholders, on account of the recent changes in the leadership and management of Arik Airline.
Similarly, Capt. Ilegbodu, under the receivership of Opasanya, SAN has also assured both staff of the troubled airline and all other stakeholders that his appointment at Arik would among other objectives enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline before all those were eroded.
As a matter of fact, Arik Airline has been in a precarious situation largely attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges and other issues, that required immediate intervention in order to guarantee the continued survival of the Airline.
On February 8, Arik temporarily suspended its flight operations to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route have been taken to France for C check at the same time. Equally more than eight aircrafts are currently grounded at the tarmac making it difficult to meet their routine commercial flights.
The myriad of issues confronting Arik Air of late ranges from confiscation of aircrafts due to non-payment of leases, frequent flight delays, constant fracas between Arik Staff and irate passengers at both local and international airports etc. During the last yuletide season, passengers were stranded in airports all over the country due to Arik’s incessant flight delays and cancellations, which negatively affected the preference they enjoy from passengers. You are all living examples of this.
The airline is so overwhelmed to the extent that the worker’s wages are not paid for several months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management of Arik and different Aviation Unions in the country. It was Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months that forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the offices of the Airline across the country causing untold hardship to thousands of travelers and an embarrassment to the aviation sector in the country. Besides owing workers’ salaries, the Airline has also not been remitting the taxes of workers to relevant bodies thus also defrauding the country.
The Airline is also in perpetual default in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing repossession of its aircrafts by Lessors. (Realn