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AMCON Takes Over Arik Air, Says Airline ‘Overwhelmed’

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The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) on Thursday announced the takeover of operations of Arik Airlines, appointing Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veretan aviation expert as manager, under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya.

This may be respite for the airlines currently immersed in heavy financial debt burden, threatening to permanently ground it.

In a statement released by its Corporate Communications Department, AMCON explained that for some time now, the airline, which carries about 55% of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.

“The move, which clearly underscores government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector has also prevented a major catastrophe that would among other factors protect, and preserve Arik Airlines as a going concern. The development will afford Arik Airlines, which is the largest local carrier to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector. The airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veretan aviation expert under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, SAN”, the statement read.

Explaining the rationale for the latest intervention in Arik Airlines, Hadi Siriki, minister of State for Aviation, Senator, said, “We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilize the operations of the airline. This will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalize the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”

The Minister who further pledged that the Federal Ministry of Aviation would support the new management of the strategic carrier added that all necessary steps have been taken to ensure that there would be no undue disruption on Arik’s regular business operations or activities of other stakeholders, on account of the recent changes in the leadership and management of Arik Airline. In the same vein, Capt. Ilegbodu, under the receivership of Opasanya, SAN has also assured both staff of the troubled airline and all other stakeholders that his appointment at Arik would among other objectives enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline before all those were eroded.

“As a matter of fact, Arik Airline has been in a precarious situation largely attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges and other issues, that required immediate intervention in order to guarantee the continued survival of the Airline.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), Arik temporarily suspended its flight operations to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route have been taken to France for C check at the same time. Equally more than eight aircrafts are currently grounded at the tarmac making it difficult to meet their routine commercial flights.

“The myriad of issues confronting Arik Air of late ranges from confiscation of aircrafts due to non-payment of leases, frequent flight delays, constant fracas between Arik Staff and irate passengers at both local and international airports etc. During the last yuletide season, passengers were stranded in airports all over the country due to Arik’s incessant flight delays and cancellations, which negatively affected the preference they enjoy from passengers. You are all living examples of this.

“The airline is so overwhelmed to the extent that the worker’s wages are not paid for several months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management of Arik and different Aviation Unions in the country.

“It was Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months that forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the offices of the Airline across the country causing untold hardship to thousands of travelers and an embarrassment to the aviation sector in the country.

“Besides owing workers’ salaries, the Airline has also not been remitting the taxes of workers to relevant bodies thus also defrauding the country.

“The Airline is also in perpetual default in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing repossession of its aircrafts by Lessors. Various class actions are pending against the airline all over the world.

“We assure all stakeholders that the intervention is in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other aviation interest groups,” AMCON said.

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Logistics

Aramex Launches ‘Shop & Ship’, Takes Delivery From Global Retailers

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By peter oluka

Aramex, the disruptive leader in the global logistics and transportation industry, has introduced its easy-access online shopping and shipping delivery service, Shop & Ship (S&S) in Nigeria.

The Company boosts that online shoppers can now order from popular global stores such as Amazon who do not deliver directly to Nigeria.

Shop & Ship (S&S) is an international shipping solution that enables members to shop from online merchants in 23 countries across the world.

Commenting on the new service, Faisal Jarmakani, managing director of Aramex Nigeria, said: “We are committed to serving the needs of the Nigerian market and constantly looking for ways to make online shopping affordable and stress-free.With Shop & Ship, we have addressed the two critical concerns of online shoppers – restriction and speed.”

“Processing and onward delivery are concluded within 3-6 working days while the restrictions from global online stores, which have made direct delivery difficult, have been eliminated with the provision of 23 addresses across the world where shipments can be delivered for onward transfer to members in Nigeria,” added Faisal.

Available in over 80 destinations globally, the S&S service enables members to purchase and ship goods from desired countries spanning across locations in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates, which are some of the most popular shopping destinations in the world.

With this service, Aramex hopes to further its mission to use technology driven solutions to grow and develop Nigeria’s multi-billion e-commerce industry.

Jarmakani further spoke on the footprint so far since Aramex’s relaunch in Nigeria in 2016.

“Aramex is a global leader in shipping. We are one of the leading global providers of ecommerce, logistics and transportation solutions, with presence in 60 countries.

“Nigeria remains an important market for us. As we journey towards the Digital Economy, we will see a surge in ecommerce activities. Aramex is here to facilitate these transactions, aid international trade and boost the economy.

Speaking on how the service meets the specific needs of Nigerians, the MD said that Shop & Ship makes it easy to shop from global stores like Amazon, Boohoo, Macys etc. right here in Nigeria.

“It takes away the restriction and limitation of online shopping from foreign stores. The service also saves shoppers time as shipments are delivered between 3-6 working days. S&S addresses these two critical concerns of online shoppers in Nigeria – restriction and speed”, he added.

How Does The Service Work?
“The service is easy to use in just one step – register for a Shop & Ship lifetime membership on our website. Once registered, you get 23 personalized physical addresses in Ontario, Shanghai, Cairo, Paris, Tbilisi, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Milan, Tokyo, Amman, Beirut, Malaysia, Singapore, Johannesburg, Seoul, Barcelona, Bangkok, Istanbul, Dubai, London, Sydney and New York.

“You can use these addresses to shop from Canada, China, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, Australia and USA and we’ll deliver them to where you live at reasonable shipping rates”.

Of course, despite the growing appeal of ecommerce, it is still at the rudimentary stage in Nigeria as the pace of adoption and acceptance is decidedly slow, Jarmakani spoke on how this can be remedied: “Some of the limitations to ecommerce growth are high cost of shipping goods to and from Nigeria, low penetration of credit cards usually required to shop online (debit cards are the common payment cards available in Nigeria), unreliable distribution and delivery processes, etc. Removing or reducing these impediments will spur ecommerce in Nigeria.

“This is what we have set out to accomplish here at Aramex, with our Shop & Ship service. We are here to ease the shipping of goods into Nigeria and provide our clients with world class distribution and delivery process at very reasonable cost”.

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Logistics

Aero Contractors gets NCAA Approval for C-check Maintenance

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Nigeria’s oldest airline, Aero Contractors, has received certification from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to handle C-checks on Boeing B737-300, B737-400 and B737-500.

Capt. Ado Sanusi, Managing Director of Aero Contractors, made this known while briefing newsmen on yesterday in Lagos.

Sanusi said the NCAA approval that takes effect from Sept. 2 was given to the Aero Contractors’ Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

”This represents for us a significant achievement and is a major instrument for our turn-around efforts. This feat has benefits far beyond Aero Contractors.

”The fact that C-check on the B737 Classic can now be performed in Nigeria by Aero Contractors will reflect directly in significant drop in maintenance cost for airlines in Nigeria and the sub-region as well as reduction in downtime for such checks.”

Explaining further, he said that a normal C-check cost between $1.8 million to $2 million outside the country, adding that performing it in Nigeria would reduce the demand for foreign exchange as airlines could now pay in Naira.

“So, it is a very positive development for Nigerian airlines and the Nigerian aviation industry because it will improve the ease of doing business,” Sanusi added.

He disclosed that the airline spent N60 million to renovate and expand the MRO facility which had been in existence for over 50 years in order to meet the required local and international standards.

According to him, the airline has also signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with international partners, including the maintenance unit of Ethiopian Airlines and South African Technik, to render assistance on the C-checks. Sanusi said that domestic airlines alone operate about 22 B737 Classics, stressing that the facility would have a viable market.

“We want to appeal to the Federal Government to give us the Free Trade Zone status. “We want to have free access to import tools and aircraft spares without hindrances from Customs when our demand increases,” he said.

The Aero boss commended the NCAA for its professionalism and encouragement during the certification process.

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Construction: FAAN Advises Passengers on How to Meet Up with Flights

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has notified passengers and other airport users that the Lagos State Government has commenced the reconstruction of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road, Lagos

The project which would last for 15 months is aimed at expanding the road for better service to users.

Appealing for understanding from all while the project last, Yakubu Henrietta, general manager, Corporate Affairs at FAAN, urged passengers and other airport users plying the road to always leave their homes earlier than usual, so as to be able to get to the airport in good time and also avoid missing their flights.

Specifically, the design of the project includes the reconstruction and expansion of the existing carriage to three-lane Expressway on both directions, construction of two-lane Service Road in both directions, construction of Ramp Bridge to provide a U-turn from Ajao Estate to Airport, construction of a flyover at NAHCO/Toll Gate and drainage works.

Others include the removal of existing Pedestrian Bridge at Ajao Estate and construction of Pedestrian Bridges at Ajao Estate and NAHCO/Hajj Camp, construction of Slip Road to provide access to Ajao Estate, construction of Lay-bys and installation of Street Lights, among others.

“Meanwhile, security agencies and other traffic officers have been mobilized to ensure that road users and passengers have relatively hitch free passage while the road is under construction.

“The Authority, in conjunction with the Lagos State Government, has put in place necessary measures to mitigate the effect of the construction on the road users while the project last”, she said.

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