Africa: Nigerian airline, Arik Air, set for national carrier status, may transform to Nigeria Eagle

Arik

The drive to make one of Nigeria’s largest airlines, Arik Air the nation’s national carrier by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), may be coming to fruition, as feelers from the industry suggest that the airline may have taken a new look to fulfill that purpose.

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, AMCON, Ahmed Kuru had made the call in Abuja last year when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, saying reform will enable the airline which AMCON took over in February 2017, remain in business for years to come.

According to an article published by, nigerianflightdeck.com, the carrier may have metamorphosed to into a new name, Nigeria Eagle (NG Eagle) having sighted one of the airline’s aircraft undergoing paint job with a new livery.

In February, our reporter had gotten hold of a prototype of the livery which shows the new logo of an eagle branded on the aircraft’s engine, tail painted in green colour, with a touch of grey and the moniker NG Eagle boldly written on the starboard.

Insider sources also state that the Nigerian Eagle transform is been on the burner a while but is driven by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and since they control the airline they are calling the shots in that regard.

Although efforts to reach AMCON spokesman Jude Nwauzor on when this is happening were abortive, it is on record that the AMCON chief Executive, Ahmed Kuru in recent times have called for Arik to be made a national carrier under the grounds that it is not only cheaper to government but has all it takes to set it up.

Kuru in 2019 made similar calls to the National Assembly and publicly when Minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika started his national carrier drive argued that it would cost less.

According to him, a new carrier would cost Federal Government a fortune, but Arik is already set and has enough aircraft and facilities that can be used to set up a new airline and if the government wants to.

This plea has met immediate resistance
from the Sirika who had in 2017 laid the foundation for Nigeria Air, which is yet to get an Air Operators Certificate ( AOC) or take any concrete form despite promises that that would happen in 2018 by the former Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) DG.

Arik Air is one of the few airlines including Aero Contractors and Afrijet which the asset managers control and this transformation may be a move to re-strategize all of AMCONs investment in the aviation sub-sector.
The industry still awaits the big unveil for the airline which was a trail blazer when it was established.

Kuru had last year stated that it is time for the National Assembly to ensure that the government leverages Arik Airline as a stepping stone towards setting up a national carrier rather than trying to set up a new airline brand from the scratch, which will cost the federal government a fortune, especially in the face of the nation’s tight budget.

With the right support and investment, Arik, Kuru insisted, has all that it takes to become a massive airline, given the volume of transformational work AMCON did upon intervention in 2017.

But to do that, Kuru said the National Assembly owes it a duty to reform the aviation sector by reducing the different layers of charges by different agencies, which makes it extremely difficult for airline to survive in the country.

“Arik has enough aircraft and facilities that can be used to set up a new airline. Even if the government wants to set up a national carrier to service just the domestic market, which currently has a lot of gap, it is possible with what Arik currently

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