The transfer of some assets of Arik Air to the proposed NG Eagle airline is raising concerns of stakeholders in the aviation industry.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has kicked against it and demanded for explanations for the repainting of Arik Air’s planes.
Two Arik Air planes recently repainted to NG Eagle floated by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) – a federal government’s debt recovery agency managing Arik Air and Aero Contractors.
AMCON took over the assets of Arik Air in February 2017 and placed it under receivership over alleged mismanagement and debt in excess of N300 billion by its former owners.
The agency also took over the Aero Contractor’s assets in February 2016 to save it from the brink of collapse
AMCON had floated a new airline named ‘Nigeria Eagle’ which was incorporated as NG Eagle Limited RC: 1600277 on July 11, 2019. Its shares are owned majorly by AMCON and a unit of that by businessman Omokhide Kamilu Alaba.
However, NUATE at a special congress held at Arik headquarters, demanded to know the reason for the movement of assets of Arik to the new entity.
While the union welcomed the new carrier, which would boost job creation, it however queried the conversion of Arik aircraft.
The President of NUATE, Comrade Ben Nnabue, said the issue of the workers must be addressed before they would be transferred to a new entity.
“We have been discussing with Arik over the years. Let’s understand what you want to do with our members and they kept on telling us ‘there is nothing like that’.
“Even when our members have seen them changing the paint on the aircraft in the tarmacs, they are still saying there is nothing like that. Something is definitely wrong; we will fight this battle to finish.”
The General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba, said the proposed airline may “run into a heavy storm being created by a thoroughly fouled industrial atmosphere at Arik Air.”
He said, “Under this atmosphere, it is practically impossible to be hopeful of any good thing. Hence our misgivings concerning the NG Eagle.”
However, Arik Air CEO, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, last week justified AMCON’s decision which he described as a recovery means since the original owner of Arik couldn’t pay the debt.