…Airline fleet size shrinks to 10 from 28
MORE facts and figures have emerged today showing that Arik Air, recently taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is indebted to over N300 billion excluding debts owed to exclusive of major aviation auxiliary players.
This is just as the airline fleet size is said to have gone down as only 10 of the 28 aircraft are operational.
Our medium had been touting a figure of N139billion but with a recent update, this figure has risen to over N300billion most of which are monies owed some major banks with the recently uncovered debt excluding aviation service companies like oil marketers, lessors and maintenance company.
A source who informed us of this development also said that within 48 hours of intervention by the government, Arik Air is receiving assistance to be able to offer smooth flight services as well as realign its services to fit its present realities of its 10 aircraft fleet.
Our sources say, “following its intervention Thursday, it has been gathered that virtually all of Arik’s trade creditors are being owed, staff salaries have not been paid for between 4- 6 months, and of the 28 aircraft in Arik’s fleet, only 10 are in operation. It appears that unlike previously recorded, Arik have debts in huge amounts, in excess of N300 billion, especially with some banks, excluding fuel suppliers, lessors and maintenance companies. “
Due to government’s intervention, operations are continuing and the insurance cover for the aircraft which would have expired on Sunday, 12 February has now been sorted out. Trade creditors and fuel marketers have been assured that all indebtedness will be looked into; they have offered to support the new management to get operations run smoothly.
Previously the fuel suppliers had suspended credit facilities, but the airline is working to ensure steady fuel supply, which had been the cause of the airline’s erratic operations.
Flight schedule may therefore be realigned to match the 10 aircraft in the fleet, while sorting out the myriad of problems confronting the airline.
A source near the airline confirmed that the management is looking to stabilize its operation by scaling down flight operations based on the number of serviceable aircraft at its disposal, until more aircraft return from C-check and maintenance yards abroad. Therefore a new schedule will be announced in the next few days to accommodate its existing fleet of 10 aircraft.
“It is obvious that without Government intervention Arik would have virtually stopped operation by Monday of next week. We need public support to understand the enormity of the challenges here, while we stabilize operations over the next few days, as we offer safe, secure and timely services to customers.’ the source said.