The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has dissolved the Board of Aero Contractors and appointed a Manager over the affairs of the airline.
The decision on Friday, according to AMCOM was in furtherance of the statutory responsibility of acquiring Eligible Bank Assets and putting them to economic use in a profitable manner.
AMCON is both the majority shareholder and creditor of Aero.
An Industry-based management team will be put in place to provide the highest level of professional competence which would ensure a quick repositioning of the company.
AMCON said its management decided to make changes in the Management of the airline to protect the brand heritage of the airline.
It also maintained that its intervention was in the public interest to sustain and improve the quality of service which Aero was delivering.
The company further assured regulatory authorities, the traveling public and key stakeholders that “the airline would continue to operate on the solid foundation of safety and security with excellent customer service”.
AMCON has also engaged a reputable accounting firm to undertake a forensic audit of the airline’s accounts over the last five years.
The decision of AMCON came barely a month the Airline disembarked passengers from a plane with a ladder in Bauchi State.
After the incident, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) imposed an “applicable sanction” on the airliner in line with Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (NCARs).
The federal government says it would soon acquire 30 aircrafts to boost domestic airlines in Nigeria and to also cushion the high cost of air fares in airline business in Nigeria.
The General Manager, Corporate Communications, of the Ministry of Aviation, Yakubu Dati stated this in Benin City shortly after a tour to check the extent of remodelling and reconstruction work at the Airport in Benin City.
Answering questions on the safety of airplanes in Nigeria, Mr Dati said concerns in this area has led to removal of tariffs on aviation spare parts and that plans to purchase airplanes for the operators.
He said the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was bent on removing abandoned aircrafts across the country as it does not fit into the aviation Master Plan.
Explaining how the fund needed for the new aircraft would be sourced, Mr Dati said the federal government would purchase the airplanes through the aviation fund being managed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bank of Industry (BoI) as direct disbursement of funds was being abused
“This is to help domestic airlines operate profitably and make it attractive for investors because spare parts are a major cost component in the aviation industry.”
He reiterated government’s commitment to making the country’s aviation industry a hub in the African continent. On abandoned planes across airports in the country, he said: “We have given the ultimatum for the owners of abandoned aircraft to remove them because they constitute menace to our airspace and airports.
“They are dangers to the flying publics because they may be places where these birds could hide. We have also discovered that some of the aircraft have litigation issues around them, some of them were used as collateral for loans.
“Such things are being handled by our legal department and as soon as those issues are resolved, the planes will be moved. We also try to advise owners that there are several creative ways in which they can use them. We are in the age of recycling and they are built with plastics and metals and that can be done profitably.
“But definitely, when the period we give elapses, FAAN will take action to ensure that we clear our spaces of abandoned aircraft because it does not fit into the aviation master-plan.”
The Senate Committee on Aviation on Wednesday recommended that Arik Air be allowed to serve as Nigeria’s national flag carrier, until the Aviation ministry is able to work out modalities of securing another national carrier.
If this recommendation is adopted by the National Assembly, Arik Air will enjoy preferential rights or privileges, accorded by the government, for international operations.
The airline company will also be required to display the flag of Nigeria in all its aircrafts. Presently, Nigeria has no flag-bearing carrier.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma, while presenting the report of the committee’s findings regarding the arbitrary fees charged by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic airways, said Arik airline should be allowed to fly the nation’s flag pending when a new national carrier would be approved by the Minister of Aviation.
“What we are saying is that for now let’s allow Arik to fly our flag around the world while the ministry of aviation is working out modalities of securing a new national carrier,” Mr Uzodinma said.
The committee in its recommendations also addressed issues relating to compliance or non-compliance with relevant aviation laws and all unwholesome activities by foreign airlines, and the role played by regulatory agencies which undermine the growth of the aviation industry in Nigeria.
The Senate President, David Mark, while reacting to the recommendations, requested the committee to produce a “compressed version of the recommendations” as according to him, the one presented was too bulky for members to deliberate on one after the other.