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NAAPE urges AMCON to sustain Arik Air operations amidst challenges

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The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), under the leadership of Mudi Muhammad, has made a fervent plea to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to sustain its efforts to salvage Arik Air Limited.

NAAPE’s call for support comes amid a backdrop of persistent negative campaigns allegedly orchestrated by previous Arik Air owners aimed at undermining AMCON’s intervention.

During a courtesy visit to AMCON headquarters in Abuja, Engineer Mudi Muhammad urged AMCON’s management to remain resolute and not be swayed by misinformed critics. He stressed the importance of continuing AMCON’s interventionist strategy, which is crucial for the survival of Arik.

Muhammad, accompanied by senior officials of NAAPE, including Ehiamere Okechi, Jude Aduba, and Egagah Alex, commended AMCON for its substantial investment in Arik Air and its significant strides in maintaining financial system stability and asset management across the country.

Muhammad stated, “As NAAPE, we know AMCON’s intervention in Arik about seven years ago was to protect the airline and save hundreds of us from losing our job. We can tell you categorically that in the last seven years of AMCON’s takeover of Arik, the airline has stood the test of time. So, we totally understand that Arik survived because of AMCON unlike what some people wanted us to believe at the time.

“Before AMCON stepped into Arik, pensions, allowances, staff salaries, were not forthcoming and the airline was on the verge of total collapse because of its huge debt burden.

“Indeed, AMCON has tried but Arik still has several challenges, which we want the Management of AMCON led by Ahmed Lawan Kuru OFR to address through the Kamilu Omokide, the Receiver/Manager who is also doing his best based on the support he gets from AMCON.

“We are here to plead that AMCON should support Arik to get more aircraft into its fleet, and as professionals who are passionate with our job, we want you to watch Arik dominate the aviation industry once again.

“We are making this appeal because apart from providing and sustaining jobs in the country, Arik is a great training ground for the aviation sector, which is critical to the growth of the Nigerian economy. “As an airline, we are always careful in following the rules of engagement, and global best practices.

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“For that professionalism, we are proud to tell the public that for over 16 years of our operational existence as Arik Air, we have zero accident record, which is a great feat, and the reason why most former presidents of Nigeria always preferred to be flown by pilots from the Arik fold.

“So, with AMCON investing more into the affairs of the airline by procuring additional aircraft for its operation, Arik will help both the federal government and the economy because of its strategic importance.”

AMCON welcomed NAAPE’s delegation, represented by Usman Abubakar and Tinus Osikoya, AMCON’s Head of Specialized Asset Enforcement and Head of Operations, respectively.

Muhammad emphasized the critical role AMCON played in preventing Arik Air’s collapse, averting job losses, and safeguarding the airline’s future. He highlighted the dire financial straits Arik faced before AMCON’s intervention, including unpaid pensions, allowances, and staff salaries.

NAAPE’s Chairman underscored Arik’s contribution to job creation and its role as a vital training ground for the aviation sector, crucial to Nigeria’s economic growth.

Muhammad praised Arik Air’s exceptional safety record over its 16-year history, highlighting its appeal to former Nigerian presidents for their air travel. He expressed optimism that further investments by AMCON would bolster Arik’s operations, benefiting both the federal government and the national economy.

Additionally, he warned that without timely investments, Arik could lose experienced pilots and engineers to foreign airlines, which would undermine the federal government’s well-intentioned intervention and tarnish AMCON’s reputation.

Muhammad concluded, “Arik has a strong Nigeria brand name. We therefore as members of NAATE are pleading with AMCON not to let Arik to die because of the number of unemployment the death of Arik will add to the stressed economy, and the negative ripple effect that it would create in the country.”

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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