The takeover of Arik Air has saved more than 2,600 jobs and improved the fortune of the airline in the last two years, Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has said.
Two years after Arik was handed over to the receiver manager, the prospects of the airline are significantly becoming brighter, the CEO, Arik Air, Roy Ilegbodu who heads the receiver managers team, said.
“AMCON did not just jump into Arik. We bought these loans in 2011 and 2012 and after buying the loans, we gave Arik N20billion, additional landing to help them rejuvenate. So, talking about putting Arik in a position to pay its debt, we did that several years before we decided to appoint a receiver manager to intervene. So where we are now is a different recovery level,” Mr Ilegbodu said.
He said “the initial recovery level was pursuing to build capacity and let them repay but where we are now is build capacity and exist. How you exist can take different forms and we have people in AMCON that are working on that.”
From a fleet of six poorly maintained aircraft, the airline now operates 17 functional aircraft which convey 5000 passengers daily, up from 1,400 at the point of takeover.
Months before its takeover, between September and December 2016, Arik operations were completely grounded because it could not pay for aviation fuel and other basic services.
The airline which hitherto accounted 55 percent of national passenger traffic at its peak of its glory was groaning under a huge debt burden and had not paid its staff for months prior to the take-over.
By Chris Agabi