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KonkNaija Media | May 3, 2016

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Arik Airline Technically goes bankrupt With Huge Debts…Pilots Leave To Other Airlines

Arik Airline Technically goes bankrupt With Huge Debts…Pilots Leave To Other Airlines

| On 25, Sep 2015


Arik Airlines is technically bankrupt as unions in the aviation industry has for the second time within a week threatened to disrupt activities of the airline due to huge debt owed aviation parastatals.


According to Mr. Benjamin Okewu, President of the Air Transport Services Se­nior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) “Arik has been enjoying services of aviation para­statals without paying for them. This protest is to send a notice to Arik management that the aviation workers are tired of the incessant indebtedness of Arik to all the aviation parastatals”.

Findings by Per Second News revealed that the troubled airline in dire financial straits plans to cut hundreds of jobs with pilots of the airline leaving to other airlines.

Per Second News can confirm that almost a dozen Arik airline pilots quit their jobs in recent months with some of them leaving to Air Peace, Dana, and Medview airlines forcing the airline to cancel and suspend flights to some route.

On the debts owed by the airline, the Deputy Managing Director of Arik Air, Captain Ado Sanusi, in a plea, recently said that the debts of the airline should be rescheduled and the interest rates should be reviewed downwards, adding that the aviation agencies should also reschedule the debts owed them by the airlines.

“The aviation parastatals should do a re-set button for the airlines. They can look at the whole debts and negotiate with the airlines. They can reconcile the debts and tell the airlines to pay a percentage of the total debts and agree on payment modalities.

Per Second News gathered that Arik airline has been propped up by cash from a government N300 billion intervention funds by the administration of the late President Musa Yar’adua for the power sector and the airlines.

Arik airline got N15 billion of the intervention fund and used the money to refinance its debts with the banks, according to its deputy managing director.

As the figures showed, the carrier’s financial problems had taken root before now, by mid-2014, those business problems were overshadowed by scarcity in aviation fuel and forex exchange rates.

The airline has also been hit with several inflight problems with passengers in recent times.

Last year, it was alleged that Arik Air abandoned an injured passenger after crew poured hot tea on him on a flight from Lagos to Johannesburg.

According to the passenger, about an hour before arriving Johannesburg,  he requested a cup of coffee, which an Arik flight attendant mistakenly spilled on his thighs. His pains turned to disbelief and shock when the attendant told him there was no first aid kit on board the plane and that he should go to the toilet and pour cold water on the spot.

“I was shocked, I felt very bad when he told me there was no first aid kit on board. I just thought to myself, if this was something else, probably, I would even die under Arik’s watch,” he said.

In May at least 100 stranded Arik Air passengers took to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport’s tarmac in Lagos to protest against their delayed flight.

The intending travellers resorted to violent protests, invading the tarmac of the airport and disrupting a scheduled Lagos-Accra flight of Arik Air.