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House to grill NCAA on NG Eagle, Arik relationship asks regulator to withhold AOC issuance

HOUSE of Representatives Committee on Aviation has said it would get to the bottom of the lingering issues and/or relationship between, Arik Air and NG Eagle midwifed by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) and has asked the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA) not to issue Air Operators’ Certificate, (AOC) to the new airline.

The Committee made this known in Abuja on Wednesday acting on a petition jointly addressed to the Chairman, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji by the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, (ANAP) and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) branch of the National Union of Pensioners, (NUP).

AMCON, according to the petitioners, has acquired Arik Air properties and decided to change name to NG Eagle Airline to evade payment of the monumental debts owed to all the aviation agencies by Arik Air. AMCON had for the past four years taken over Arik Air on receivership due to its insolvency.

The committee who reacted to the petition resolved to investigate the alleged plan by AMCON to float NG Eagle Airline with Arik assets to ascertain the true situation and ensure that the aspect of the liabilities are duly resolved.

The chairman, Honourable Nnaji emphasized that, ” if truly AMCON is taking over the assets of Arik Air and handing them over to another legal entity the aspect of liabilities must be addressed so that public funds are not lost”.

” You cannot acquire assets and leave liabilities. It is not done, we are not going to allow it because apart from the Arik’s indebtedness to the agencies, the 25% statutory remittances of the agencies to the Consolidated Accounts is there too” Honourable Nnaji further stressed. READ MORE: Arik unions warn ANAP, NUP on meddling in NG Eagle’s AOC certification

The petitioners further alleged that AMCON has changed the livery on Arik Air aircraft to NG Eagle Airline which showed that it has fully acquired Arik Air assets but wanted to abdicate it’s liabilities through name change.

ANAP and NUP affirmed that they were petitioning the committee to restrict NCAA from issuing AOC to Nigeria Eagle Airline to avoid a repeat of what happened in the case of Bellview Airlines which transformed to First Nation Airways and the aviation agencies ended up losing billions of naira owed by the defunct Bellview Airlines.

An interview with Arik Managing Director, Captain Roy Ilegbodu earlier this year he affirmed that the Asset Management of Nigeria (AMCON) owned airline NG Eagle is an entirely different entity from Arik Air as there is no connection between both airlines.

Captain Ilegbodu explained that the fact a couple of planes with Arik aircraft raiment were painted to the NG Eagle livery was because the assets (aircraft) were mortgaged for a loan and now the owners have taken possession of their assets.

According to him, the owners simply recovered their assets. READ MORE: Captain Ilegbodu clarifies NG Eagle’s ownership; says entity completely different from Arik

He stated, “Well, in reality there is no connection between the two. That said, you are aware that NG Eagle is solely owned by AMCON and of course you know that Arik Air itself is in receivership and the receivership was instituted by AMCON which is based on the fact that Arik owes significant sums of money to AMCON. So if you can infer from there that’s the relationship.

When quizzed on the Boeing 737NG aircraft with registration marks 5N-MJG and 5N-MJN he said: “I can boldly say that those airplanes in our industry we call what happened with it recovery. So they have been recovered. If a company owes and it cannot pay, those airplanes were actually mortgaged to AMCON and it is very clear that at some point they’d take their assets and that is what was done.”

“So, the fact that the aircraft carry the name and logo of Arik Air doesn’t mean they (the aircraft) belong to Arik Air. The owners have taken their property. Of course, the opportunity was given to Arik to pay; I don’t think that happened so I think it’s pretty straight forward by law, those are mortgaged assets and the owners of the assets have every right to take their assets.” He explained.

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