Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is set to float a new airline, NG Eagle, deploying some of the assets of distressed Arik Air.
As at yesterday, two aircraft erstwhile operated by Arik, have been rebranded in the colours of NG Eagle and parked at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, ahead of take-off.
It is learnt the procedure for the Air Operating Certificate (AOC) has scaled the fourth stage of approval at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and will be issued to the new carrier.
Amid reactions from stakeholders over the fate of Arik Air, AMCON has said Arik Air will continue to operate side-by-side NG Eagle. Though the future of Arik is uncertain, NG Eagle, according to AMCON’s plans, will later be sold to investors or the Federal Government that is angling to float a new national carrier.
Recall that AMCON, a special purpose vehicle of the Federal Government for the recovery of debts, took over Arik Air in February 2017. The rationale was to save the airline from imminent collapse, citing gross mismanagement by the owners and debt in excess of N300 billion-plus.
The Federal Government injected billions into its operations to stabilise the airline. Besides paying salaries and meeting basic obligations, about nine out of 30 aircraft owned by Arik returned to operation, sustaining both local and regional operations.
About five years down the line, the airline remains a hard sell, given the level of rot, debt and hard-to-recover liquidity pumped in to keep it on life support.