The Federal Government on Thursday announced a lifeline to financially distressed Arik Airlines to continue to keep it as a going concern in the aviation industry.
The management of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), said the decision to intervene clearly underscores the government’s commitment to instill sanity in the country’s aviation sector to prevent a major catastrophe in the country.
“The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier in the country, to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector,” AMCON spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor, said.
Arik, which controls about 55 per cent of the country’s passenger traffic, has for some time faced threat of liquidation as a result of heavy financial debt burden, weak corporate governance, operational difficulties, bad management and inability to pay staff regularly.
Apart from backlog of accumulated staff salaries, AMCON said the airline has the most demotivated workforce in the sector, while being in constant default in its lease payments and insurance, resulting in aircraft getting confiscated by lessors.
Besides, the airline has been operating extremely erratic schedules not good for a strategic carrier, with its flights routinely either delayed or cancelled without explanations to customers.
Under the new arrangement, the airline would be managed by Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, under the receivership of Oluseye Opasanya, a senior advocate of Nigeria.