The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, has disclosed that Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air, operated without spare tyres and other important equipment necessary to facilitate operations.
Addressing a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday, AMCON spokesperson, Jude Nwauzor, noted that until the airline was taken over by the corporation in February, it operated without adequate equipment.
According to AMCON spoken person, the former management of Arik Airlines were basically gambling with the lives of millions of people that patronize the airline because it did not care about safety.
In the report, the Corporation went too low to said that critical operational arrangement such as having a simulator, which would have ensured that Arik pilots undertook mandatory trainings as required to improve their efficiency, were non-existent.
AMCON also said that the airline had inadequate equipment to facilitate its operations, which reflected in the insufficient laptops available at the airports to conduct basic checks.
Furthermore, Nwauzor disclosed that the airline was indebted to the tune of N375 billion naira in local debt, adding that it also accumulated foreign debt totalling 31 million euros and $6.5 million.
Amehnews recall that the Managing Director of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Ahmed Kuru, said the corporation took over Arik because the airline was owing it N146 billion.
AMCON took over the management of Arik on February 9.
Mr. Kuru said the N146 billion owed the corporation was part of a total of N352.5 billion debt profile of the airline.
He stated Arik has non-performing loans acquired in 2011 from two banks. He listed the debts as Union Bank, N71 billion, and Keystone, N14 billion.
According to him, the facilities were granted to Arik Air for purchase of additional aircraft and to refinance existing loans and the default in repayment posed systemic threat to the banks and economy.
The managing director said that Arik was also indebted to Standard Chartered Bank, Zenith Bank, Ecobank and Access Bank to the tune of N165 billion, adding that there were huge foreign components of the airline’s debt.
The AMCON boss said in spite of the leniency and good faith demonstrated by AMCON throughout the negotiations, Arik refused to adhere to the terms of settlement of some of the debts.
Expects more reports on this