The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says public confidence is gradually returning to Nigeria’s largest domestic carrier, Arik Air, barely two weeks after it took over the airline.
AMCON made the claim in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Jude Nwauzor, and obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
NAN reports that the airline was on Feb. 9 taken over by the Federal Government under the auspices of AMCON as a result of its debt of over N300 billion.
AMCON appointed Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, a veteran aviation expert, to manage the airline under the receivership of Mr Oluseye Opasanya (SAN).
Nwauzor said the new management was confronted with a barrage of challenges.
AMCON said the management has surmounted the problems, adding that it has been stabilising the airline’s operations with the few aircraft on the fleet.
AMCON said unlike what obtained before the takeover, average On-Time-Performance (OTP) of Arik Air to different destinations has improved.
The corporation also claimed that Nigerian banks that hitherto turned their backs to Arik are now cooperating and supporting the new management.
According to the spokesman, engagement with international and local creditors has also been successful while discussions with critical service providers and industry stakeholders have yielded the much desired positive results.
“Arik has also paid the insurance premium, which was on the verge of expiring and commenced the payment of outstanding salaries, which has greatly boosted staff morale as well as performance.
‘’Arik is also in discussion with different creditors and stakeholders to recall a good number of aircraft into the fleet, as soon as possible, which will increase the number of daily flights,” he said.
The corporation said that a good number of passengers affected by the suspension of flights to some routes had been refunded, adding that efforts were on to reach out to those yet to get their refunds.
Nwauzor further said that with the positive developments being witnessed in the operations of the airline since its takeover, customers of Arik, especially from the corporate circle, were gradually coming back.
The corporation further said its efforts in ensuring improved performance within a short period it tookover Arik Air had resulted in stable and professional management of the airline.
The new management said their efforts at reviving the airline was boosted by the fact that Arik had unparalleled safety record that ‘’speaks for itself in the history of aviation in the country.’’
AMCON said it had also held series of fruitful engagements and agreements with major suppliers of aviation fuel for regular supplies of the product to Arik to guarantee regular flights.