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AMCON take-over: Arik workers face sack

By on March 4, 2017

There are fears among workers of the distressed Arik Air that the new management may cut the workforce over dwindling operations.

Following the takeover of the airline by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) which appointed a new management for the airline, there has been drastic cut in the number of flights operated daily by the airline owing to its dwindling fleet size.

The airline which used to operate about 120 flights a day now manages to operate less than 30.

Besides our correspondent reports that the usually crowded Arik Air departure hall at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport was virtually empty with another airline operating from the same terminal taking most of the passengers.

However the fear among the workers now is the possibility of retrenchment as the revenues of the airline shrinks daily.

It was gathered that the airline has about 2,000 workers payroll in Nigeria with about N1 billion monthly wage bill and a projected monthly revenue of N1.5 billion, which is not enough to meet operating costs, offset aircraft insurance bills or pay its creditors.

 But the media consultant to Arik Air, Simon Tumba, said it was not true that the airline is planning to sack workers. He said instead of sacking workers, the new management is planning to stabilize the operations by bringing in five more aircraft and put them back in the air.

“It’s not true because the main task of this current management is to stabilize things, make sure things are working very smoothly”, he said.

A source said, “Fine, the new management is planning to return five aircraft into the fleet out of the many aircraft on ground. But the money is just not there. You need $1.5 m to service each of these aircraft”.

On the alleged $78m debt owed the International Air Transport Association (IATA), former management of Arik Air explained that it did not owe the international agency, saying the payments were made through aviation agencies.

“We have our receipts and banking tellers to back these payments, which we made directly to these agencies instead of through IATA”, said a former management staff who sought anonymity.