Debts hindering Arik Air’s return to international routes – MD

Aggrieved passengers storm Arik Air’s corporate headquarters
Access Bank Plc

Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, the Managing Director, Arik Air on Wednesday said the huge debts incurred by the airline’s former management was one of the major factors hindering its return to international operations.

Ilegbodu made the disclosure while receiving the 54th President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola, who paid a courtesy visit to Arik Air Headquarters in Lagos.

Our correspondent reports that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) had in February 2017 took over the airline due to its huge indebtedness.

Ilegbodu noted that the airline had suspended its flights to New York, London and Johannesburg as part of its reorganisation plans.

He said “Arik Air was established in 2006 as the largest airline in Nigeria. We have had our ups and downs but we have been able to stabilise the airline.

“At the moment, we are consolidating and in the near future you will see an airline that you will be very proud of.’’

According to him, the management of the airline is aware of the importance of playing on the international stage but is also aware of the challenges ahead.

“The process is quite tedious and it will take between 12 to 18 months to be able to get back on that stage but I cannot guarantee you that it will happen very soon.

“The previous management left a lot of international debts and we need to address the issue before we can restart our flight operations on these routes,’’ Ilegbodu said.

Also speaking, Mrs Comfort Eyitayo, Coordinator, Ikeja District Society Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (IDSICAN) maintained that good corporate governance was key to sustaining airline business.

Eyitayo also urged Nigerian airlines to establish sustainable route expansion models which would enable them to deliver on-time flight services and attract more customers.

Also speaking, ICAN president Jaiyeola lauded the cooperation between ICAN and Arik Air and sued for its sustenance.

“We are very glad to identify with the giant strides that Arik Air has achieved in the aviation industry.

“We also appreciate that you are now consolidating on restoring the airline to its previous glory.’’