The Federal Government has issued a two-week ultimatum to Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, and the Arik Air Group to resolve all indebtedness of the airline.
This came on a day Arik Air said it had paid the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, N18.9 billion of its indebtedness to the agency and had resumed services after Wednesday’s disruption of its operations by unions in the industry.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, gave the directive at a meeting with the management of Arik Air in Abuja. He directed the parties to report back to him after the two-week ultimatum, with a resolution on the amounts owed, payment plans and the way forward. The Minister noted that all airline operators must conform to industry rules and regulations, including payment of applicable fees and fines as at when due, stating that the well-being of an airline was measured by its ability to pay for services rendered it.
On his part, the Chairman of Arik Air, Sir Arumeni Johnson, who described his airline as a responsible corporate citizen that was always ready to meet its obligations to its passengers and service providers, lamented the shabby treatment of the airline by the unions. Meanwhile, Arik Air said yesterday it had paid the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, N18.9 billion of its indebtedness to the agency.
The airline’s Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, said at the time labour unions disrupted operations, there was a substantive case at the Federal High Court, Lagos, instituted by FAAN to verify and reconcile the claims of N18.9 billion owed the agency. Ndulue added that FAAN acknowledged through a letter that Arik Air had paid N11.4 billion as at June 30, 2015, and that the agency also acknowledged receiving money in its bank account.