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Arik Air 737-800. Picture from Airliners.net

Security operatives bar Arik passengers entry over refunds

 …as AMCON prepares to ‘act’ on airline’s N139billion debt

SECURITY operatives  today besieged the headquarters of Nigerian airline, Arik Air at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos barricading aggrieved passengers of the airline  who were  airline’s headquarters to demand for the refund of their air ticket fares.

This is just as indicators trickling in reveals that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is set to take ‘action’ on the airline with sources disclosing that the airline is indebted to the tune of N139billion.

Already there is disquiet in and around the airline especially with insinuations here and there that AMCON plans to take over by the airline, same reports that have come out in the past with both  AMCON and Arik coming out to deny any of such takeover.

However, a  source who spoke to nigerianflightdeck.com anonymously said that AMCON sooner than later may act on the airline’s N139billion indebtedness but did not specify the course of action  saying that it (airline) has had it quite rough in the last couple of months coupled with the debt hovering around it.

Arik Air has had series of  trouble in the last couple of months ranging from union issues which lead to the airline’s shutdown for almost a day to a sequence of flight delays and cancellations especially on their international flights leading to passengers agitations and subsequent fine by the regulators.

The airline also had an issue which led unions to shut it down over payment of seven months salaries sometime in 2016.

Meanwhile,  earlier today there was melee at the airline’s headquarters as no fewer than 12 security operatives barricaded the entrance of the airline with their Hiace Toyota buses, thereby prevented people from going in and or coming out of the premises.

The intention of these security operatives as at the time of filing this report, is still unknown as no information was given out.

As at the time our correspondent visited the airline, some of the security operatives in police uniform were outside the entrance gate while others were inside the building. One of the vehicles they brought is with the registration number Abuja: BWR 641 GA.

At the entrance gate, some of the aggrieved passengers who could not get refund for their cancelled flights stormed the airline, but could not gain entrance into the building.

One of the aggrieved passengers who didn’t give her name, alleged that her N800,000 ticket funds have been trapped in the airline since December 23, 2016.

She told some reporters present that she bought air tickets for some group of passengers who were supposed to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa with the airline, but the flight was cancelled by the airline, stressing that since then, she has been unable to get refund.

She said: “I have been coming to this place since December last year. I bought tickets for some passengers, who were supposed to travel with the airline the same month, but Arik on their own cancelled the flight and they are supposed to refund me, but they have been tossing me up and down.”

Another aggrieved passenger said that his N70, 000 has been with the airline since July last year while another female passenger said her ticket fund of N23,000 has been hanging with the carrier and the list goes on.

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Nigerianflightdeck is an online news and magazine platform reporting business stories with a bias for aviation and travel. It is borne out of the intention to inform, educate as well as alter perceptions with balanced reportage.

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