- NAAPE has made an appeal to AMCON to continue its intervention in the affairs of Arik Air
- The association admitted that AMCON's intervention in Arik Air seven years ago had saved the airline from collapse
- It, however, appealed to AMCON to support Arik in getting more aircraft into its fleet, as well as more professionals
Nigerian aircraft pilots and engineers have appealed to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to persist in its intervention initiatives aimed at safeguarding the viability of Arik Air.
The professionals under the umbrella of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) made the appeal during a courtesy visit to AMCON's office in Abuja, under the leadership of Engineer Mudi Muhammad.
According to the Independent, they conveyed their endorsement of AMCON's initiatives and investments in Arik Air, stressing the importance of the corporation's persistence in these endeavours.
They said it is particularly crucial given the smear campaign launched by the former owners of Arik Air Limited, especially following the change of government in the country, in an attempt to turn public opinion against AMCON.
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Arik Air controversies and struggle to remain afloat
Consequently, the government promptly disbanded the airline's management team and designated a receiver-manager.
By June 2023, media outlets had reported the detention of Omokide Kamilu, the receiver-manager for Arik Air, on suspicion of misappropriating and diverting approximately N120 billion.
However, the airline subsequently refuted these allegations against Kamilu, categorizing them as "completely untrue."
NAAPE appeals to AMCON to continue to safeguard Arik Air
Mohammed said that NAAPE recognises AMCON's contributions in the last seven years, without which Arik Air would have joined the list of airlines in Nigeria that have gone underground.
We are here today as an association to demonstrate our support to AMCON because as insiders, we understand the big contribution AMCON made to ensure that Arik did not die.
As NAAPE, we know AMCON’s intervention in Arik about seven years ago was to protect the airline and save hundreds of us from losing our jobs.
He added that prior to AMCON's intervention in Arik Air, there were significant delays in disbursing pensions, allowances, and staff salaries. The airline was on the brink of complete collapse due to its substantial debt load.
"We are here to plead that AMCON should support Arik to get more aircraft into its fleet, and as professionals, who are passionate with our job, we want you to watch Arik dominate the aviation industry once again."
The NAAPE chairman also emphasized that without prompt additional investments by AMCON, Arik Air could potentially face a scenario where some of its highly skilled pilots and engineers may be enticed away by foreign airlines seeking to recruit them.
This situation, he contended, would undermine the very essence of the federal government's intervention in Arik, ultimately tarnishing AMCON's reputation following its well-intentioned intervention.
Security locks out Arik Air founder, Arumemi-Ikhide
In related news, Legit.ng earlier reported in April 2023 that Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, the founder of Arik Air, encountered difficulties accessing the company's facilities despite a court order granting him permission to do so.
Security personnel, appointed through a previous court order following AMCON's assumption of control over the airline in 2017 due to significant debt, obstructed Arumemi-Ikhide and his associates.
Despite his explanation that he had a meeting scheduled with the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Finance Officer, he was denied entry to the premises.
Subsequently, he left the Arik Air premises and proceeded to the Nigeria Police Force division at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, where he provided a statement.