AMCON intervention: Arik to operate 14 aircraft by June

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As a result of the takeover of Arik Air and appointment of a new management by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), investment made between February and April has resulted in the recall of eight aircraft and additional six aircraft slated to begin flight operation in June, 2017.

An official of AMCON who spoke with Nigerian NewsDirect confirmed at the weekend that the quality of management put in place by the Debt Recovery Agency of government made the recall of five aircraft of Arik Air possible within two months of the takeover. He disclosed that as at the time of take over only three aircraft of the airline were certified fit to fly.

It was revealed that since taking over the operation of Arik airline in February 2017, AMCON has put in a total of N1.5 billion to resuscitate the airline.

In a recent interview with journalists, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Captain Roy Ilegbodu had disclosed that in the last two months that his team took over operation of Arik, following their appointment by AMCON, they have made efforts to regain control. “As at today, we operate a fleet of about eight aircraft, but by mid-May, we would have 14 airplanes in service and we are going to maintain that number for a while,” he assured.

He commended AMCON for its support and revealed what is being done to keep the operation.

“AMCON indeed has been very supportive with funds and that is why we are still here today. I would say that in the first couple of weeks that we took over, AMCON injected approximately N1.5 billion. Basically, that has sustained us comfortably,” Ilegbodu told journalists

“A lot of people think that in three or four months, you can turn around an airline. But it doesn’t work so in this business. Everything is well guided because you have to make sure all the parts of the business are in order. Everything is done systematically and AMCON has supported us very well. We have been able to source spare parts and as I speak, we have spare parts arriving daily. So, we have managed to stabilize operations and the unpaid staffs have been paid salaries and we are up to date on that. A lot of the expatriates also, we have paid them up to date.

“We don’t want to grow the operations so rapidly because it has its own setback. Our passenger number has gone up considerably and on Friday alone we lifted over 3,000 passengers. But decision has to be made on how to proceed in the future.”

He disclosed that most of the aircraft his team met when they resumed duty were in a poor state. This, he said, showed that the previous management was using spare parts from those airplanes on grounds that were not functional to keep the few flying ones operational. He alleged that this further caused the operational planes to deteriorate. He said that his administration is making deliberate attempt to slow things down considering that the industry is one where safety is very critical.

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