The National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies [NANTA] has thrown its weight behind what it termed quick intervention of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria [AMCON] in Nigeria’s troubled flag carrier airline, Arik Air from total collapse.
Speaking on the side-line of announcement on its forth coming 41st non elective Annual General Meeting [AGM] to be held in Sheraton Hotels, Lagos on March 21, 2017, NANTA President, Bankole Bernard said the damage the new management of the carrier met on ground was more than what they anticipated, adding that the carrier was heading for total collapse before the rescue.
In his word, “NANTA had a meeting with the new management of Arik. I can say to you that the damage they met on ground is far higher than what they were expecting and I am sure you know that it is not easy to fix a situation that has been damaged so badly like what we have in Arik.
Thank God, the government intervened that it did not turn out to be a complete embarrassment. Can you imagine what it would have been if Arik’s aircraft had dropped from the sky?
“It could have happened because it was getting that bad because they were running out of funds. Their London office had gone into liquidation even before AMCON got there. It is a good thing that AMCON has gone in. They will restructure the whole place and whatever they come up with and we are willing to work with them.”
He said NANTA was really concerned about the airline, considering its status then as the biggest carrier in West Africa, adding that it would have been very embarrassing for the country if the airline had gone under without the quick intervention of government.
He said, “We are glad that the government went in and I think the steps they have been taking would help to save the airline. We hope that in a matter of months, we will see them go back to what they used to be.”
He lauded the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika and AMCON for taking a proactive step to rescue the airline he said was heading for the rocks because of over N500b debts the airline is enmeshed in.
The airline is reported to owe virtually all its creditors including another $78 million it is yet to remit to the International Air Transport Association [IATA] and other creditors.
Although, the former management of the airline denied it owes IATA. But the clearing house has temporarily suspended the carriers from its Billing Settlement Plan [BSP] platform; an action that may not be unconnected with the allegation.
Speaking on the forthcoming AGM, Bernard stated that the AGM with theme: “Tourism in a recessed economy. The way forward”, is aimed at taping into the low hanging fruits in tourism at this period of recession.
Expected at the event are former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Information and Culture minister, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, former Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority [NCAA], Dr. Harold Demuren, Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Tourism and Hospitality [NIHOTOUR], Chika Balogun and the Ag director general of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Mariel Rae Omoh among other dignitaries.
He said AGM has become imperative because NANTA has become a relevant voice in the aviation industry.
Bernard observed that the planned closure of Abuja airport is an opportunity in disguise for their members to look into the untapped tourism potential within the zone.
Speaking also, the 1st deputy president of NANTA and chairperson of the AGM organising committee, Susan Akporiaye added that all the stakeholders in the aviation industry like NCAA, FAAN, South African Airways, South African Tourism and others would also be at the event..
Speaking on the closure of Abuja airport for runway repairs, Akporiaye emphasised that AGM will give hope to members to take advantage of the situation on ground to tap into the tourism industry in Kaduna and environs in the absence of ticket sales in Abuja.
She enjoined the members to look deep inside and tap into the opportunity the closure of Abuja airport in the area of tourism.
…Arik Air Introduces Promo Fares
Nigeria’s flag carrier airline, Arik Air has announced a special promotional fare that will enable passengers buy a-one-way ticket to any destination in Nigeria from N16, 000.
The promotion, which runs from March 6 to 20 March, 2017 is to acknowledge and appreciate the loyalty of the airline’s highly esteemed customers that have stood with the airline for over a decade of operation. To enjoy this offer however, customers are advised to buy their ticket on or before March 20, 2017, while the last date for travel is March 31, 2017.
A statement from the airline added that tickets can be purchased at any Arik Air City Office, Airport Ticketing Office, online at www.arikair.com or the Arik Mobile App.
Commenting on the latest promotion, Arik Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Captain Roy Ilegbodu said: “This is an exciting time for both staff and loyal customers of Arik Air. The new management has ensured stability of operations over the last three weeks with improved on-time-performance.”
Captain Roy who further disclosed that Arik passengers would be greeted with many more amazing customer centric engagements in the months ahead disclosed that management is working hard to expand coverage.
He said, “Arrangements have been concluded to return five of the grounded aircraft back to service shortly and this will enable us add more flights to our network. We therefore welcome back our loyal customers and promise them a great flying experience.”
In a related development, Arik Air has released a new schedule for its Kaduna operations following the planned closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja from March 8, 2017, and the diversion of traffic to Kaduna Airport.
Arik Air will be operating three daily flights between Kaduna and Lagos and one daily flight between Kaduna and Accra, Ghana during this period. Other destinations to be serviced by the airline from Kaduna are Port Harcourt, Ilorin, Sokoto, Gombe, Yola and Enugu, which will have one daily flight each.
The new schedule will be operated for six weeks when the Abuja Airport is closed to traffic.